Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown is a classic baseball stadium that has seen its share of history. Opened in 1931, the facility has seen many great players of the past play the game here including Hack Wilson, Lefty Grove, Willie Mays, and Jim Palmer as well as current major league players such as Bryce Harper. In various leagues, teams such as the Hubs, Owls, Braves, and Packets played to the local crowds up until 1955. Numerous Negro League teams also played at Municipal Stadium over the years.
In 1981, baseball returned in the form of the High A Level Carolina League and the Hagerstown Suns, who were affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles. In 1989 the Orioles moved their Carolina League to nearby Frederick, Maryland. Hagerstown then spent four seasons as the AA affiliate for the Orioles until that team moved to another new stadium in Bowie, MD.
The city was never without baseball as the Toronto Blue Jays moved their Myrtle Beach, SC based team to the “Hub City.” The franchise was a low A level, South Atlantic League team. The Blue Jays affiliation was also somewhat awkward at the time as the nearby Orioles were in a heated rivalry with the Canadian MLB team. The Giants and the Mets also were the Suns Major League affiliate at times in the early 2000s, also at the South Atlantic League level. But once again, none of these affiliations seemed to suit the local flavor.
In 2007, an affiliation with a team located even closer to Hagerstown than the Orioles was found with the Washington Nationals. Finally it seems that Hagerstown would be set up for success. But the future is hazy as the team may end up moving to Fredericksburg, VA in the near future. But hopefully organized baseball, either as the current Suns, or in some other form stays at this historic field.
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Food choices are not large in variety, with two basic food stands and a couple additional stands. But what is offered is cheap in price and of high quality. The Jersey Mike sub for $5 is a bargain with a meal deal for $3 more that includes chips, offering another value.
Pretzels and sodas are $3. The BBQ Nacho that includes pulled pork, bbq and cheese, will fill you up for $7. A pulled pork BBQ sandwich is also available.
Beer and cider is sold at a couple of stands. The best place for beer is the Beer Garden down the left field line. Prices are decent, with beer starting at $6, but in a large glass.
This is an old stadium. There is no doubt about that. It does not have the bells and whistles of stadiums built in recent years. It does not even have the features of a stadium built in the 1950s such as the Reading Fightin Phils's FirstEnergy Stadium. That Reading park is the goal for an older facility, such Municipal Stadium, to strive for. Older can still be good.
The atmosphere is still very good at a Suns game. If you're a true baseball fan you will enjoy your experience here. The casual fan will also enjoy the extras such as good food and some fun diversions for the kids.
There is also a good variety of seating choices. The covered grandstands offer relatively new individual seats with cup holders. There are also simple but renovated grandstands down both baselines, with a special Field Suite on the right field line that is angled for better viewing.
The stadium is located close to downtown Hagerstown, but you may not even realize it. The ballpark is isolated from the town and feels like it is essentially in a residential area. There is a bar called Stadium Grill and Tavern located directly behind the stadium that can offer some pre and post game meals.
Since the Suns are an affiliate of a DC based team, you should stop by the local version of the popular DC based restaurant, Hard Times Cafe & Cue at 1705 Massey Boulevard. Try a Cincinnati style chili 5-way.
Also make sure to stop by local used book store Wonder Book and Video located at 607 Dual Highway. They have been named one of the best used book stores by USA Today. You may find yourself lost in their stacks for hours.
Lodging options are varied. While there are some nearby hotels on Dual Highway, you may find it better to stay at a hotel such as Spring Hill Suites Hagerstown located in the Valley Mall parking lot.
The fans in the grandstand, as well as those who stand during the entire game behind the dugout, are true hardcore baseball fans. You may never see a fan base that spends more time with their scorecards than you will see here in Hagerstown. They know and understand the game of baseball.
The crowd can also get pretty loud. They are into the game and will root when needed and jeer when they need to jeer as well. A casual fan spending time on their cell phone will look like the odd man out here. It is a refreshing change when compared to fans at many modern stadiums who are not always actively engaged with the game action.
Although seemingly locked away in a housing neighborhood, Municipal Stadium is fairly easy to access. Signs will quickly direct you off of I-70 to Route 40 (Dual Highway) and then to Eastern Boulevard which takes you quickly to the parking lot.
Parking is free and should be no problem for even the most crowded game. Be wary of parking too close to the first base grandstand as your car will be in a prime foul ball zone.
Tickets are a bargain at $9 for general admission and $12 for VIP. The Suns offer many other packages, special dates, group incentives that can make a game be an even greater value.
With the free parking and the convenience of the stadium to access, the baseball fan will find no better value around.
The stadium is dripping with history. Knowing that Willie Mays took his first professional swings here is not to be forgotten, let alone the fact that Jim Palmer pitched from that mound. Or the fact that legendary teams of the Negro League such as the Indianapolis Clowns, Homestead Grays or the Pittsburgh Crawfords played games here.
The plaques of the history of the stadium that are placed around the concourse drive that sense of history home even more.
The nicely placed Beer Garden is a nice extra that allows a fan to enjoy a beverage and still see the game.
The new seats in the covered grandstand take an old stadium and add some needed modern luxury. There is not a bad seat in the house. And now most of them are actually comfortable seats as well.
One should also look at the sloped outfield. One of the reasons that major league baseball is not happy with this facility is this unusual "feature." As a fan, baseball is all about the uniqueness and diversity of baseball fields. That feature, although unintentional, is certainly unique.
If you love the nostalgic history of baseball, then a game at Hagerstown should not be missed. The major leagues may want to move away from using Municipal Stadium as a home for organized baseball, but as a fan you will love the true baseball experience on display here.
Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, Maryland is the third oldest minor league stadium in the country. It is currently home to the Hagerstown Suns, a Single A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Built in 1930 (in SIX WEEKS), it bleeds history, and without any (and I mean NONE) of the modern doodads and what not, gives a much better experience than some of your fancy pants new stadiums, with upscale accoutrements, like digital clocks, or digital anything for that matter.
Step into the time machine with me.
Nothing special about this place, but maybe that is what makes it a place worth visiting.
Truly a step back in time.
I went to a game on 5/25/13 with my folks. I believe I went to this stadium as a kid, but I can't remember it. Other than it being 40 degrees in late May, I had a great time!
Food & Beverage
Outstanding! The concession selection was robust and prices were extremely reasonable. Funnel cake fries? Yes, I will have some. Rita's Italian Ice on a 40 degree day?...sure! (big mistake...)
Very charming! News flash, this is NOT a modern park. The scoreboard is controlled manually (when a run is scored, a man runs up and hangs a number on a stick).
What's not charming are the seats. The seats are very narrow and those that aren't cutting off circulation are bleachers without backs. If you're above average heft or have a back problem, expect to have a hard time...If I could recommend one upgrade to this historic park, this is the one. Build more comfortable stands!
The neighborhood seemed fine. This is the second MD minor league stadium (Frederick Keys) I've been to located next to a graveyard...I guess they don't have to worry about the neighbors complaining. I didn't see anything around the stadium...
The fans were great! Very engaged with the game, knew the players and coaches, were extremely friendly.
Parking looked like it could turn into a nightmare. We got there early and left early, so it wasn't a problem for us. I parked at a near by outlet mall and carpooled to the game, anticipating that it could/would be a problem, so apparently it has been in the past.
Return on Investment
Great! Tickets were cheap. Concessions were cheap. If you can get past the uncomfort of the seats, it's a win.
The only extra I saw was an almost unbearable American Idol type singing competition between innings. Yuck.
I originally visited Municipal Stadium in 2002, and again in 2013. The place really looked worse for wear on my return visit. The place was pretty full due to a visit from the Cowboy Monkeys, and the atmosphere was electric for their performance. Otherwise, the ballpark was pretty plain. Bleacher seats are predominant, although concessions were fairly varied for such a small park. Big minus points for the souvenir stand. What kind of pro baseball park does not carry baseballs?
Ok, its not a glamorous place. Its one of the oldest stadiums around, but doesn't have that nostalgia that other older ball parks have. Its basically a fancy little league stadium that serves beer.
That being said, there's something about it that I like, though I cant put my finger on it.
It has bleacher style seats ( the most uncomfortable things on the planet).
Parking is plentiful, but I recommend parking far from the main gate. Many foul balls go out there and each one is sponsored by Ryan's Auto Glass.
Food, is surprisingly plentiful. They have anything you may need for a game and even things you didn't think of.
The general atmosphere could be better. 2013 saw the Suns go all the way to the finals and the stadium wasn't even half full - AND all tickets to the finals were free. But, the fans there are loyal and really get into the game.
The neighborhood is blank. Nothing around except a towing company and a graveyard.
Be sure to look for Big Tony. He is the guy selling things, giving away things, and getting the crowd going. He is worth the price of admission.
The clubhouse is down the first baseline, so getting autographs is easy and the players on both teams always take time to come over and sign things.
All in all, check it out at least once. You wont be disappointed.
Year after year, stories come up about a new Mid-Atlantic city ready to build a ballpark to take over the Suns, yet, remarkably the Suns are still in Hagerstown. Normally, I love classic, historic ballparks, but Municipal Stadium is a chunk of metal that was hastily put together in the early 1900s and just doesn't have the charm. The constant threats of leaving have kept much of Hagerstown from fully embracing the team and unless a big named Nat is in town, crowds are small. I do appreciate the historic markers on the walls of the grandstand.
This is the way minor league ball used to be, where a few hundred fans paid a couple of bucks to sit in a covered stadium and watch a ball game. No distractions, mascot races, music blaring, or anything else. Just a baseball game. Third oldest minor league park, Willie Mays played his first pro game here. If you have yet to visit, drop by next time you are visiting the Orioles, it is only an hour (and a bit) away.
If you ever fancy an old school ballpark experience, then Hagerstown is the place for you. The wooden and steel grandstand probably looks the same as it did when the facility opened up over 60-years-ago. This little ballpark has been hanging on in the league and surprisingly still serving as an affiliate. One day the team will either move or build a new structure, so enjoy it while it is still here and offering very affordable minor league baseball entertainment.
401 S Cannon Ave
Hagerstown, MD 21740
1910 Dual Highway
Hagerstown, MD 21740
17280 Valley Mall Rd
Hagerstown, MD 21740