4700 Deukmejian Dr.
Cal State Long Beach
(562) 985-8561 or (562) 985-4949
Blair Field, located in Recreation Park is one of the few semi-professional baseball facilities in California. It was constructed in 1958 and over the years has fostered local amateur baseball and hosted Moore League High School Football teams, and American Legion and Connie Mack seasons. The Chicago Cubs baseball team, the Los Angeles Rams football team and Olympic teams have used the site for practice. It is a popular location for the filming of commercials, television programs and movies. It is the home of the California State University at Long Beach 49er baseball team the "Dirtbags", and the Long Beach Armada professional baseball team. Recently, $1.475 million was spent to renovate the 3,238-seat facility. New spectator seating, field lights, a playing field with state-of-the-art drainage system, and turf which exceeds professional baseball standards were installed.
The City acquired Recreation Park in March 1923 and built a baseball field with a grandstand seating for 1,000. Opening day was March 14, 1924, with a game between the Pacific Coast League, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs, both owned by William Wrigley and was a front-page story in the Long Beach Press, by Frank T. Blair.
The Salt Lake City Bees, the first minor club to train at Recreation Park, set up camp in the fall of 1925. In 1926, Seattle of the Pacific Coast League, trained here and Denver of the Western League moved in for training in 1927. Bob Feller and Satchel Paige brought their barnstorming teams to play in the 1930s and Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics played an exhibition game at Recreation Park in 1940.
Local Long Beach ball players who made it to the major leagues during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s included: Jack Rothrock (a member of the Shell Oilers in 1926), Jack Salveson, Walt Carson, Frank Gabler, Bob Sturgeon, Vern Stephens, Bob Lemon, Chuck Stevens, Jack Graham, and Eddie Bockman.More...
In February 1956, the citizens of Long Beach for citywide park and recreation improvements passed a $4.9 million bond issue. Plans included a new baseball stadium at Recreation Park. Money was also set aside to relocate the softball diamonds to Hamilton Bowl and convert the ballfield at Recreation Park back to baseball only.
In November 1956, the old wooden grandstand was demolished. Construction of the new field and grandstand was completed in late 1957, and locker room and other internal enhancements were completed in early 1958. The lights were added in 1959. On May 10, 1958, the ultra modern stadium named Blair Field was officially dedicated and named for Frank T. Blair, the former Press Telegram sports editor who campaigned for the construction of the stadium for many years before his death in 1953.
Blair Field was used by high school, California State University at Long Beach, Long Beach Community College, American Legion, Connie Mack, and other youth baseball games, and other uses including in 1966 Chicago Cubs spring training headquarters, in the 1970s, the Los Angeles Rams practice site (the Sports and Aquatics office, adjacent to the field, was their locker room), film shoots and celebrity sports competitions.
In 1992, due to deteriorating field conditions, the City sold the parking lot adjacent to the field to the Long Beach Unified School District for Wilson High School parking. The purchase stipulated that the Department would have free use of the lot during evening and weekend hours, the normal operating times for Blair Field. These funds allowed the renovation to replace worn wooden benches with new aluminum ones, replace the roof, paint the entire facility, replace the backstop, upgrade the stadium sound system, reconstruct the playing surface, including a new drainage system, and install new lighting system.
Professional baseball returned to Blair in 1996, with the Class A Western Baseball League Barracuda, who left after the 1997 season and played one year in Mission Viejo before folding. The Class A Breakers, also same Western Baseball League, but with new ownership, replaced the Barracuda for the 1999 season. They folded after the 2000 season, and were replaced for the 2001 season by the Wildfire/Riptide. The Golden Baseball League team, the Armada, replaced the Riptide in 2004 and still remain.
In 1997, an electronic scoreboard was added. In 2000, American's with Disabilities Act access improvements included ramps, hardscape surface repairs, accessible parking facilities, and restroom modifications. The Long Beach Baseball Hall of Fame was created in 2004 and is housed at Blair Field. In 2009, new electrical wiring was installed and the field lights replaced with more modern lights. A new electronic scoreboard was also added with video displays.
Blair Field is the home of the Long Beach Baseball Hall of Fame. The City of Long Beach has a proud history of producing some of the most outstanding baseball and players in the world. Bob Lemon, Bobby Grich, and Tony Gwynn are a few of the major league baseball greats who began their careers in the City. In addition to those who made their fame on the field, there have been hundreds of off the field players and supporters that have helped make Long Beach one of the country's leading baseball cities. A volunteer committee led by Parks and Recreation Commissioner Drew Satarino, created selection rules, and sought out and selected members. The first class honored was inaugurated on May 8, 2004 preceding a game by the nationally ranked California State, Long Beach Dirtbags. A plaque was unveiled on a new Hall of Fame wall at Blair Field. Future plans include displays of memorabilia, photos, and other Long Beach baseball items for the public to view of the XX baseball players who have made significant contributions to sports in Long Beach.