Balboa Stadium

Balboa Stadium is a football and soccer stadium on the West Coast of the United States, located in San Diego, California. Just east of San Diego High School, the original stadium was built 105 years ago in 1914 as part of the 1915 Panama–California Exposition,[2] also in Balboa Park, with a capacity of 15,000. A horseshoe design that opened to the south, it was designed by the Quayle Brothers architectural firm and originally called City Stadium.

The capacity was raised to 34,000 in 1961 with an upper deck for the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League (AFL); it was their home field from 1961 through 1966.[3]

Due to seismic safety concerns, the stadium was demolished in the 1970s and a smaller venue with a 3,000-seat capacity was built,[4] opening in 1978.

Owned by the City of San Diego, it is leased to the San Diego Unified School District, which is responsible for its maintenance. It is currently used for professional soccer and high school events (football, soccer, track, graduation ceremonies, and special events). The stadium has an artificial turf field and lights.

Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium
Looking south in 2008
Former namesCity Stadium
Location1405 Park Boulevard
San Diego, California, U.S.
Coordinates32°43′15″N 117°9′2″W / 32.72083°N 117.15056°WCoordinates: 32°43′15″N 117°9′2″W / 32.72083°N 117.15056°W
OwnerCity of San Diego
OperatorSan Diego Unified S.D.
Capacity  3,000 (1978–present)
34,000 (1961–66)[1]
23,000 (1960)
15,000 (1914)
Surfaceartificial turf
originally natural grass
Construction
Built1914
Renovated1978
ArchitectQuayle Brothers
Tenants
San Diego East-West Christmas Classic (NCAA) (1921–1922)
San Diego State Aztecs (NCAA) (1921–1935)
Harbor Bowl (NCAA) (1947–1949)
Poinsettia Bowl (military) (1952–1955)
San Diego Chargers (AFL) (1961–1966)
San Diego Toros (NASL) (1968)
San Diego Pumitas (NPSL) (1999–2007)
San Diego Flash (2010) (NPSL; charity events)
San Diego Boca FC (NPSL) (2011–2014)
San Diego Growlers (AUDL) (2015–present)
San Diego is located in the United States
San Diego
San Diego
Location in the United States
San Diego is located in California
San Diego
San Diego
Location in California

Earlier uses

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13799, San Diego, Stadion, Luftaufnahme
Aerial view from west in 1932

The original stadium was built in 1914 as part of the 1915 Panama–California Exposition, also in Balboa Park, with a capacity of 15,000. It was designed by the Quayle Brothers architectural firm and originally called City Stadium. On May 31, 1915, the stadium was dedicated and around 20,000 people came to watch track and field events.[5]

Auto racing took place on a quarter-mile dirt track in Balboa Stadium from about 1937 through July 4, 1961, when the racing stopped so the facility could be used for pro football. Balboa Stadium was one of the hotbeds of midget racing starting in about 1937 until the early 1950s (except for the war years). When interest in midget racing started waning, jalopies became popular. The San Diego Racing Association was formed in 1953 and started sanctioning the racing. By 1958 the San Diego Racing Assn had transformed from a jalopy association to more sleek modified sportsman (the forerunners of today's super modifieds). Jalopy champions of the SDRA at Balboa included Glen Hoagland (1953), Jim Wood (1954), Jack Krogh (1955), Harris Mills (1956), Don Ray (1957), and Mondo Iavelli (1958). Don Thomas (1957) was the inaugural modified champion with Art Pratt being a three time titlest (1958 - 1959 - 1960). Rip Erikson took the honors in the 1961 season that was split between Balboa Stadium and Cajon Speedway. Also holding events at Balboa Stadium during the 1950s were occasional visits by the URA midgets and the NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Models. During the 1950s it was not unusual for more than 10,000 fans to attend a weekly show at Balboa.

The stadium also hosted local amateur and professional baseball contests in the period prior to the establishment of the Pacific Coast League Padres in 1936. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, and Satchel Paige played in Balboa Stadium.

College football's Harbor Bowl was held there from 1947 to 1949. The San Diego East-West Christmas Classic was held there in 1921 and 1922. From 1952 through 1955, the stadium hosted the Poinsettia Bowl, contested between armed services football teams.

The stadium has been the site of famous races in track and field. In 1965, high-schooler Jim Ryun from Kansas beat world-record holder and reigning 1500 m Olympic champion Peter Snell of New Zealand in a mile race in 3:55.3 on June 27,[6][7] an American high school record that stood for 42 years. A year later, Tim Danielson from San Diego area Chula Vista High School ran 3:59.4 in the same stadium to become only the second high school runner to run a sub-4:00 mile. Only three high school runners have managed to break that barrier since (Marty Liquori in 1967, Alan Webb in 2001, and Lukas Verzbicas in 2011). Fifty years after Ryun first broke the 4 minute mile, the stadium hosted a "Festival of Miles" featuring a return of Ryun.[8]

The first two major meets of the developing age division of Masters athletics were held in Balboa Stadium, July 19–20, 1968, and July 3–6, 1969.

During the mid to late 1950s a huge musical production, The California Story, was put on in Balboa Stadium as part of the Fiesta del Pacifico celebration. The extravaganza featured a cast of 1,300 people, including a symphony orchestra and a 150-voice choir.[9] Performances were directed by Meredith Willson, who also contributed music and lyrics.[10] The production followed the history of California from the arrival of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1540 through the early 20th century.[11] It was billed as "the biggest non-movie spectacle ever produced anywhere."[12]

San Diego Chargers

To accommodate the American Football League's Chargers, which moved from Los Angeles, the seating capacity was increased from 23,000 to 34,000 by adding an upper deck in May 1961.[3] It was their home for six years, through the 1966 season.

Balboa Stadium witnessed the Chargers' glory years in the American Football League, which featured such players as John Hadl, Lance Alworth, Jack Kemp, and Ernie Ladd, and hosted the 1961, 1963, and 1965 AFL championship games, as well as the 1961, 1962, and 1963 AFL All-Star games. In their six seasons here, head coach Sid Gillman's club had a home record of 28–12–2 (.690), winning four Western Division titles and one league crown (1963).

In 1967, the Chargers left Balboa for the new San Diego Stadium (now SDCCU Stadium) in Mission Valley, where the club's glory slowed and the titles stopped (although they did win several American Football Conference Western Division titles) until they won the AFC championship in 1994; the Chargers returned to Los Angeles in 2017.

Concerts

The stadium was used for popular music concerts and other public gatherings through the 1960s and 1970s. On August 28, 1965, The Beatles performed at the stadium.[13] Other notable groups performing there included Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Doobie Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, Yes, Jethro Tull, Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Chicago, Jefferson Airplane and Santana.[14]

Notable events

Pres. Wilson addressing 50,000 people, San Diego Stadium, Sept. 19, 1919 LCCN2007661940
Woodrow Wilson's speech at Balboa Stadium

On September 19, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson spoke in front of over 50,000 people in Balboa Stadium in support of the creation of the League of Nations.[15] This was the first presidential speech to use an electronic voice amplification system. This system was invented by Edwin S. Pridham and Peter L. Jensen. They called their invention the "Magnavox" ("Great Voice") moving coil device. The two would go on to found the Magnavox company.[16]

On September 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh visited San Diego, where the Spirit of St. Louis was built by Ryan Aeronautical, and was greeted with a hero's welcome at the stadium. With over 60,000 in attendance (10,000 more than President Wilson) he performed a low-level fly over at 100 feet, dipping his aircraft's wings and circling the stadium 8 times. He landed and was then paraded through the city to the stadium where the crowd had to be held back by 650 U.S. Marines.[17]

On December 7, 1941, a Navy vs. Marines football game was interrupted at halftime by news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The game was never finished.[18]

The stadium was also the site of the first match of the NASL Final 1968.

Modern stadium

Balboa Stadium 5678 (2687990768)
View from northeast in 2008

The original stadium was demolished in the 1970s due to concerns about its stability during an earthquake,[19] and was rebuilt in 1978 with a much smaller seating capacity than when it housed the Chargers. Most of its distinguishing architectural features were removed. The remaining seating is made up of simple concrete bleachers, which also form the walls of the canyon the field is built in.

The stadium was home to San Diego Boca FC, one of San Diego's professional outdoor soccer teams, until 2014. For promotional purposes Boca FC referred to the stadium as "Boca Stadium". San Diego's largest and oldest running club, the San Diego Track Club also calls Balboa Stadium its home. It is used by San Diego High School for local high school sporting and other events. During the 1990s and the 2000s, it was also used as the home field (for football only) by St. Augustine High School and San Diego City College.

Balboa Stadium is the site of the annual "Stand Down" program, an outreach to provide services to needy and homeless military veterans, sponsored by the Veterans Village of San Diego.[20]

An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune on November 27, 2006, highlighted the stadium's state of disrepair. Artificial turf installed in 2001 was torn and rippling, and the track surrounding the field had dangerous depressions thought to be able to cause injury to runners.[21] Both the turf and the track have since been completely renovated.

References

  1. ^ Grasso, John (2013). Historical Dictionary of Football. Scarecrow Press. p. 350. ISBN 0810878569. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  2. ^ Riess, Steven A. (2013). Sport in Industrial America, 1850-1920 (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1118537718. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Balboa Stadium". StadiumsOfProFootball.com.
  4. ^ "Balboa Stadium". San Diego Sports Commission. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  5. ^ Amero, Richard W. (2013). Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition (1st ed.). Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. p. 88. ISBN 1-626193-45-2.
  6. ^ "Prep Ryun steals the Snell-Grelle mile 'duel'". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). AP, UPI reports. June 28, 1965. p. 3B.
  7. ^ Brown, Gwilym S. (July 5, 1965). "Fast teen-agers in grown-up time". Sports Illustrated. p. 14.
  8. ^ "Eric Avila Finds Redemption, and First Sub-4 Mile, at Jim Ryun Meet - Times of San Diego". timesofsandiego.com. 5 June 2014.
  9. ^ Pourade, Richard F. (1977). "5: A Fiesta - Reliving the days of the dons". City of the Dream 1940-1970. Copley Press. ISBN 978-0913938195.
  10. ^ Freeman, Don (June 1, 2002). "'Music Man' still leads Broadway's hit parade". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  11. ^ Starr, Kevin (2009). Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-515377-4.
  12. ^ "San Diego Fiesta del Pacifico folder 1957". Program. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  13. ^ "San Diego Concert Archive, August". San Diego Concert Archive. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  14. ^ "San Diego Concert Archive, September". San Diego Concert Archive. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  15. ^ Pourade, Richard F. (1965). Gold in the Sun (1st ed.). San Diego: The Union-Tribune Publishing Company. p. 236. ISBN 0-913938-04-1.
  16. ^ Gerald A. Shepherd (Spring 1986). "When the President Spoke at Balboa Stadium". The Journal of San Diego History. 32 (2).
  17. ^ Gerald A. Shepherd (Winter 1994). "When the Lone Eagle Returned to San Diego". The Journal of San Diego History. 40 (1 & 2).
  18. ^ Bucher, Ric (26 July 1987). "Notable events at Balboa Stadium". The San Diego Union.
  19. ^ Lee, Bobbie Jo (March 21, 1987). "New Balboa Stadium Track Closer to Reality; Coliseum Comes Next". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  20. ^ "Veterans Village of San Diego". Prestige Placements. Archived from the original on 7 June 2008. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  21. ^ Gao, Helen (November 27, 2006). "Track, turf in trouble?". U-T San Diego. Archived from the original on November 22, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014.

External links

Preceded by
Los Angeles Coliseum
Home of the
San Diego Chargers

1961 – 1966
Succeeded by
Qualcomm Stadium
1924 San Diego State football team

The 1924 San Diego State football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1924 NCAA football season. Even though San Diego State became a four-year institution prior to the 1921 season, they competed in the Southern California Junior College Conference from 1921 to 1924. For conference games, only Freshmen and Sophomores were eligible to play.

The school nickname "Aztecs" did not come into being until the 1925 season. From 1921 to 1924, there was no official nickname. At various times, publications used the term "Professors", "Wampus Cats", "Staters" and "Statesmen". The yearbook "Del Sudoeste" published at the end of the 1924–25 school year notes that January 6, 1925 was the date that "Berry, Schellbach and Osenburg christen college 'Aztecs' ".The 1924 San Diego State team was led by head coach Charles E. Peterson in his fourth season as football coach of the Aztecs. They played home games at both Balboa Stadium and at a field on campus. The Aztecs finished the season as champion of the SCJCC for the third consecutive year, with seven wins, one loss and two ties (7–1–2, 3–0 SCJCC). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 249–53 points for the season.

1925 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1925 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1925 NCAA football season. San Diego State competed as an independent in 1925, after having been a member of the Southern California Junior College Conference (SCJCC) since they started playing in 1921. They became a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) in 1926.

The 1925 season was the first where San Diego State used the "Aztecs" nickname. The yearbook "Del Sudoeste" published at the end of the 1924–25 school year notes that January 6, 1925 was the date that "Berry, Schellbach and Osenburg christen college 'Aztecs' ".The 1925 San Diego State team was led by head coach Charles E. Peterson in his fifth season as football coach of the Aztecs. They played home games at both Balboa Stadium and at a field on campus. The Aztecs finished the season with five wins, three losses and one tie (5–3–1). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 108–59 points for the season.

1927 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1927 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1927 NCAA football season.

San Diego State competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 1927 San Diego State team was led by head coach Charles E. Peterson in his seventh season as football coach of the Aztecs. They played three home games at Balboa Stadium and one at a field on the school campus. The Aztecs finished the season with four wins and three losses (4–3, 2–3 SCIAC). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 190–79 points for the season.

1928 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1928 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1928 NCAA football season.

San Diego State competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 1928 San Diego State team was led by head coach Charles E. Peterson in his eighth season as football coach of the Aztecs. They played three home games at Balboa Stadium and one at a field on the school campus. The Aztecs finished the season with three wins and three losses (3–3, 2–3 SCIAC). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 111–105 points for the season.

1929 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1929 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1929 NCAA football season.

San Diego State competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 1929 San Diego State team was led by head coach Charles E. Peterson in his ninth season as football coach of the Aztecs. They played five home games at Balboa Stadium and one at Navy "Sports" Field. The Aztecs finished the season with three wins and five losses (3–5, 1–5 SCIAC). Overall, the team was outscored by its opponents 81–96 points for the season.

1932 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1932 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1932 NCAA football season.

San Diego State competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 1932 San Diego State team was led by head coach Walter Herreid in his third season with the Aztecs. They played home games at Balboa Stadium. The Aztecs finished the season with three wins, five losses and one tie (3–5–1, 2–4–1 SCIAC). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 80–72 points for the season.

1934 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1934 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State Teachers College during the 1934 NCAA football season.

San Diego State competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 1934 San Diego State team was led by head coach Walter Herreid in his fifth season with the Aztecs. They played home games at three San Diego sites: four games at Balboa Stadium, one game at Navy "Sports" Field, and one game on campus. The Aztecs finished the season with three wins, five losses and one tie (3–5–1, 2–1–1 SCIAC). Overall, the team was outscored by its opponents 61–106 points for the season.

1935 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1935 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1935 NCAA football season.

San Diego State competed in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 1935 San Diego State team was led by head coach Leo B. Calland in his first season with the Aztecs. They played home games at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California and one game on campus. The Aztecs finished the season with three wins, four losses and one tie (3–4–1, 2–2–1 SCIAC). Overall, the team was outscored by its opponents 56–83 points for the season.

1941 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1941 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1941 college football season.

San Diego State competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The 1941 team was led by head coach Leo B. Calland in his seventh season with the Aztecs. They played home games at two sites, Aztec Bowl and Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California. The Aztecs finished the season with six wins and four losses (6–4, 0–3 CCAA). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 105–87 for the season.

1945 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1945 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1945 college football season.

San Diego State did not field a team in 1943 and 1944 due to World War II. For this shortened first post-war season, San Diego State was again a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), but only two CCAA schools fielded a team so there was no champion named. The team was led by head coach Bob Breitbard in his first and only season with the Aztecs. They played home games at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California. The Aztecs finished the season with two wins and five losses (2–5, 1–0 CCAA). Overall, the team was outscored by its opponents 65–163 for the season.

1946 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1946 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1946 college football season.

San Diego State competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The team was led by head coach Gander Terry in his first and only season with the Aztecs. They played home games at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California. The Aztecs finished the season with six wins and four losses (6–4, 2–3 CCAA). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 152–105 for the season.

1947 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1947 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1947 college football season.

San Diego State competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The team was led by first-year head coach Bill Schutte, and played home games at both Aztec Bowl and Balboa Stadium. They finished the season with seven wins, three losses and one tie (7–3–1, 2–2–1 CCAA). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 191–156 for the season. At the end of the season, the Aztecs were chosen to play in the 1948 Harbor Bowl against the Hardin–Simmons Cowboys. The game was played at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California on January 1, 1948. The Aztecs were beaten 0–53 in the game.

1952 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1952 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1952 college football season.

San Diego State competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The team was led by sixth-year head coach Bill Schutte, and played home games at both Aztec Bowl and Balboa Stadium. They finished the season with four wins and five losses (4–5, 2–2 CCAA). Overall, the team was outscored by its opponents 238–267 for the season.

1954 San Diego State Aztecs football team

The 1954 San Diego State Aztecs football team represented San Diego State College during the 1954 college football season.

San Diego State competed in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The team was led by eighth-year head coach Bill Schutte, and played home games at both Aztec Bowl and Balboa Stadium. They finished the season with five wins and four losses (5–4, 2–2 CCAA). Overall, the team outscored its opponents 177–141 for the season.

1961 American Football League Championship Game

The 1961 American Football League Championship Game was a rematch of the first AFL title game, between the Houston Oilers and the San Diego Chargers (formerly the Los Angeles Chargers). It was played on December 24 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California, and the Oilers were three-point favorites.

1961 San Diego Chargers season

The 1961 San Diego Chargers season was the team's second in the American Football League. It was the Chargers' first season in San Diego, where the team remained until 2017. The Chargers won their first eleven games and clinched the Western Division by mid-November, but only managed one victory in December. Like the previous season, the Chargers' season ended with a loss to the Houston Oilers in the AFL championship game, this time 10–3 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego.The 1961 Chargers set a modern-era pro football record with 66 takeaways, most in AFL or NFL history. The Chargers also recorded the most interceptions returned for a touchdown in both league histories with nine, with the team recording a total of 49 interceptions for 929 yards, both NFL records.

1963 San Diego Chargers season

The 1963 San Diego Chargers season was the team's fourth in the American Football League. The team had gone 4–10 in 1962. They won their only AFL Championship with a 51–10 win over the Boston Patriots in Balboa Stadium. Receiver Lance Alworth was named the league M.V.P.

Through 2019, this is the Chargers' only league championship season in the AFL or NFL, although they did win the 1994 AFC Championship before losing in Super Bowl XXIX to the San Francisco 49ers. This is also the most recent world championship ever won by a major league sports team in the city and county of San Diego. In 2003, the team was inducted into the Chargers Ring of Honor.The Chargers were the only AFL team to go undefeated against four teams in the regular season that would go on to make the postseason.

The 1963 San Diego Chargers were one of the best.

1965 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

The 1965 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships men's competition took place between June 25-26 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California. The women's division held their championships separately in Columbus, Ohio. Balboa Stadium was one of the first to sport an all-weather track made of asphalt and rubber.

The Marathon championships were run in October at the Yonkers Marathon.

One of the highlights of this meet was the 6 mile run, where Olympic Champion Billy Mills, known for his stunning sprint in the Olympics ("Look at Mills, Look at Mills!") was run down by Gerry Lindgren. Mills surged to take a narrow victory, both men being given the same time, which was the world record.

Also running was Olympic double champion Peter Snell and 1500 silver medalist Josef Odložil as visiting international athletes. Snell had just lost his world record in the mile to Michel Jazy two weeks earlier. While Jim Ryun was a high school star who had run in that same race in the Olympics, his win here was his first American record, narrowly pushed by competition from Snell and Jim Grelle. Olympic Champions Bob Schul and Warren "Rex" Cawley also won.

1966 San Diego Chargers season

The 1966 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 9–2–3 record in 1965. In the team's final season at Balboa Stadium, the Chargers went 7–6–1 and finished in third place in the AFL West Division. The team would move to San Diego Stadium for the following season. It was also the first season to feature an AFL-NFL World Championship Game now known as the Super Bowl.

For the 1966 season only, the Chargers changed the color of the lightning bolt on their helmets from yellow to blue. The yellow bolt returned the following season.

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