Saturday, June 3, 2023

Stadium Saturdays - Oakland Coliseum

 Hello Friends!

It's Saturday, so that means another stadium on the tour. Now. I'm going to try not to dunk on the place too much given the recent events, but some of the things have been an issue throughout. 

I'm of course, talking about Oakland-Alameda Network Associates McAfee Ring Central Coliseum in Oakland, California. 

So some of the things we know.. It's part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, which also has Oakland Arena. 

In the 50s and 60s, Oakland, as well as pretty much every other city on the west coast, was fighting for expansion consideration from the major sports. Of course, by the start of the 60s, you had both the Dodgers and Giants in the area, but other cities wanted a piece of the pie. 

In 1960 a non-profit group was started in Oakland to oversee the financing and development of a stadium. Local devleoper Robert T Nahas had the idea to have the facility privately financed with ownership transferring to the city.

In some respects, Nahas was the only reason the place even got built. He also had the unenviable task of dealing with Al Davis and Charlie O Finley. Oakland was on the radar for an expansion by the American League in 1961. 

In 1965, The Cleveland Indians were rumoured to be moving to Oakland, but they stayed put. Instead, Charlie Finley was able to move to Oakland in 1968.

This photo was from the 1980s and people could see outside the stadium. This view was lost in 1995. 

For Raiders games, two congifurations were used for football.. It all depended on whether the Athletics were still in season or not. During baseball season, Raider games were configured to set up from Home to Centre Field. After the baseball season ended, it was From Left Field to Right Field. 
After 1996, the latter configuration was the one used for Football. 

Another photo of the stadium in the early years. 

The Coliseum after Mt. Davis was built. 
So there have been attempts to replace the Coliseum since 2005. First site suggested by the team was across from the current site but was rejected when land owners refused to sell. Through 2006, the team looked for areas within their territory. They were looking in Fremont for a site, but stopped after public opposition. They tried taking the stadium idea to San Jose, but was stopped by the Giants exercising their territory rights to San Jose.
The city suggested sites at Jack London Square and a project called Coliseum City, which would be built on the current property. Both were rejected.
In 2016, the team was in talks with Laney College to build on their site. The proposal would include the movement and construction of an administrative building to a place of the school's choosing. However, that was abruptly shot down. 
2018 the team was looking at the Howard Terminal site for the park. The plans would have included purchasing the coliseum lands and making a technology and housing hub, preserving Oracle Arena, and turning the Coliseum into a low-rise sports park. 
We all know where things stand right now, so I'm not going to go any further.. 

In the late 70s, the Coliseum was poorly maintained, and attendance suffered. Twice the attendance was under 1000 for a game. During this period, people called the place The Mausoleum. 
There is also the issue of sewage backups. Now, the construction of the stadium was done in such a way that the field is 21 feet below sea level.
I may be talking out a random orifice, but to me, that seems like it would put strain on the sewage system, especially if the stadium was busy. 

Anyway.. Who has used this place over the years??

Oakland Athletics 1968-now
Oakland Raiders (NFL) 1966-1981, 1995-2019
Oakland Clippers (NPSL/NASL) 1967-1968
Oakland Stompers (NASL) 1978
Oakland Invaders (USFL) 1983-1985
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 2008-2009

So there we have it.. The Oakland Coliseum.. The Milk Bowl.. The Black Hole.. 


  1. Great summary. Gonna miss going to games here.

  2. The original park was beautiful. All of those later additions made it a lot less so.