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  • Richard Smith

Municipal Stadium – Hagerstown Suns

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Municipal Stadium 274 E Memorial Blvd Hagerstown, MD 21740

Year Opened: 1931

Year Demolished: 2022

Capacity: 4,600


History in Hagerstown

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 of 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.

A move from Hagerstown seems inevitable. The team tried to move to the Fredericksburg, VA numerous times although funding and planning issues got in the way. It seems unlikely that Municipal Stadium can last. Hopefully organized baseball, either as the current Suns, or in some other form stays at this historic field.

Food & Beverage 4

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 are 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.

Atmosphere 4

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 FirstEnergy Stadium. That Reading park is the goal for an older facility, such as 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.

Neighborhood 3

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 postgame meals.

Also, make sure to stop by local used bookstore Wonder Book and Video located at 607 Dual Highway. They have been named one of the best used bookstores 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 Springhill Suites Hagerstown located in the Valley Mall parking lot.

Fans 4

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.

Access 4

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.

Return on Investment 5

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 access, the baseball fan will find no better value around.

Extras 3

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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