Bradner Stadium - Olean Oilers
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Bradner Stadium 550 East State St Olean, NY 14760
Year Opened: 1928 Capacity: 2,400
Olean's Bradner Stadium is Quite the Ballpark
The Olean Oilers are members of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. They began to play in 2013 and have called Bradner Stadium home since 2015. The summer-collegiate club returned organized baseball to the historic stadium that served as home to the original Oilers from 1939 to 1962.
The new Oilers hit the ground running, capturing the league championship in 2015 and then a record 24 games in a row the following year, en route to another title. The Oilers made it back to the championship series in 2018 but fell to Onondaga. The club would go on hiatus for two seasons but are back in 2022.
The original Oilers were members of the New York-Penn League, and Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League from 1939 to 1962; and affiliated with numerous major league teams, most notably the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1939 to 1948. Oiler clubs captured four championships (1939, 1940, 1951, and 1961).
Food & Beverage 3
The traditional items of hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, and nachos are served at the stadium. They are enough to keep fans satisfied for the duration of the game, and there are also plenty of cold drinks to wash it all down with during the hot summers in upstate New York.
Bradner is on the list of the country’s quirkiest venues for baseball. The venue is historic and has been the home to baseball for over 90 years, but it looks more like a football venue than one for baseball. However, that has not changed the fact that folks enjoy an Oilers game. Let’s look at some of its features.
The grandstand is no more than 10 feet deep, and the last rows of seats on the first base side are even with the main street. You will also find a tunnel underneath the street that provides safe access from the parking lot to the ballpark. There is a raised press box is also in this area, instead of being behind home plate. There is also netting behind the seating bowl to protect motorists from a foul ball crashing into their car window while passing through.
The third baseline has a field goal post even with third base and field-level dugouts with bus-stop-like coverings for the visiting players. The seating curves away at an angle in this area and is separated by a large concrete area. The distance to left field is not shortened as with other football stadiums that have served as baseball venues, since Bradner was built with extra room to accommodate baseball.
Needless to say, the best seats are down the first side, and there are a lot of them to find throughout the 4,000-seat stadium, but listed as 2,400 for baseball games. The concourse is directly behind the last rows of seats and features a hub of activity from concession stands, merchandise tables, restrooms, and the main entrance to the stadium.
The small town of 13,437 is worth a visit before or after an Oilers game. There are a few local restaurants that are of interest to any visitor. Angee’s Restaurant serves Italian dishes, sandwiches, burgers, and beer. The Old Library Inn is in a class by itself that offers chops, seafood, and homemade pasta. The Prohibition Bar is worth a visit for its specialty cocktails. Mickey’s and Century Manor Grillhouse are ideal for steak, while the Spot 2 Be Restaurant and 3rd Base Bar & Grill are perfect for traditional pub food.
Outside of the restaurants, visitors can visit Rock City Park for hiking the trails through the beautiful rock formations. The Cutco-Ka-Bar Visitors Center makes for a great visit to one of the most durable collections of knives in the business. Learn about the company and its tools that are also available for purchase. Four Mile Brewing is the town’s microbrewery with sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, and flatbreads.
During the week, crowds can be light at the game and total around 300-500; however, weekend games can attract crowds between 1,000 to 2,000 spectators. You will find the usual mix of supporters from ardent fans, casual onlookers, and host families. It’s a nice mix that also results in conversation throughout the 9-innings of play.
The ballpark is easy to spot from East State Street. A large parking lot at War Veterans Park provides ample space, while a tunnel leads fans directly into the stadium on the third-base side. There is plenty of room to move around, but when fireworks take place, it could get a lot more cumbersome. The large concourse on top of the stadium provides all the essentials from bathrooms, guest services, concessions, and merchandise sales.
Return on Investment 4
The price of admission is dirt-cheap, with anyone under the age of 18 allowed free of charge. A season ticket package is only $35, but if anyone older than 18 wants to see a game, the cost is $5. Concession items are inexpensive, and parking is free. This might help when deciding to purchase a cap or t-shirt at the concession table.
Bradner Stadium earns a few points for its quirkiness, including the tunnel that leads into the seating bowl, the goal post behind the third-base bag, and its netting up above the grandstand. Another point is awarded for free admission to anyone 18 and under.
Bradner has a lot of quirks, and sometimes the focus is on the design and aesthetics of the structure. However, it is another spot for small-town baseball in New York state; the town of Olean is better for having the Oilers playing during the summer months. The town is not too far away from other ballpark destinations, and if you can fit it in during your traveling plans, you’ll enjoy some of those quirks as well.