Compadre Stadium

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Compadre Stadium
Location1425 W Ocotillo Road, Chandler, Arizona
Coordinates33°14′40″N 111°51′51″W / 33.24444°N 111.86417°W / 33.24444; -111.86417
Capacity4,900 seated, approx. 10,000 with outfield berm seating[1]
Field sizeLeft Field - ft
Center Field - ft
Right Field - ft
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Built1985
Opened1986
Closed1997
Demolished2014
Construction cost$1.6 million
Tenants
Milwaukee Brewers (AL) (spring training) (1986-1997)
Chandler Diamondbacks (AFL) (1992-1993)
Arizona League Brewers (Arizona League) (1988-1995) (complex)
Arizona League Cardinals (Arizona League) (1993-94) (complex)

Compadre Stadium was a stadium located in Chandler, Arizona. It was the spring training home of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986 to 1997 and the home field of the Arizona Fall League Chandler Diamondbacks. The ballpark was privately financed by local developers and built at a cost of $1.6 million in 1985.[1]

The stadium was named after the local non-profit Chandler Compadres, who were allowed to keep the parking fees as a fundraiser. The organization later offered to purchase the stadium from Maricopa County after the Brewers moved out in 1997 for $1.6 million.[2]

History[edit]

In 1982, Chandler mayor Jim Patterson first approached the Brewers about moving their spring training facility from Sun City to Chandler. Patterson was aware that the owners of the Brewers' minor league ballpark in Sun City had sold the facility to private developers and the Brewers would soon need a new spring home. After leaving office, Patterson built a 2,700-acre (11 km2) development he named Ocotillo, in which he placed the ballpark.[3]

In April 1985, the Brewers agreed to move their spring training camp from Sun City, Arizona, to Chandler where local authorities planned to build a 20-acre (81,000 m2) complex in exchange for the Brewers signing a 10-year lease. The Brewers moved into Compadre Stadium for the 1986 Cactus League spring training.[4] The facility was the first Cactus League stadium with grass seating in the outfield.[5] It also featured an artificial lake.[6]

The stadium faced problems immediately upon opening. A gas explosion inside the Brewers' locker room at Compadre Stadium during the 1986 spring training seriously burned several of the Brewer coaches, including third base coach Tony Muser. Muser was in line to become the Brewers' manager, but did not because of his injuries.[1] The facility had only been open four days. The Chandler fire department downplayed speculation hasty construction on the stadium had led to the explosion.[7]

Parking was far away from the entrance, and the stadium was also on the outskirts of Phoenix, and the proximity to nearby farms led a local paper to comment the stadium "smells like hell."[6] The players had to go through the stadium to reach the locker room, and each dugout had only a portable toilet.[8]

The Brewers drew 51,800 fans to Compadre in 1986 and 69,158 in 1987, but after two seasons the stadium did not break even on spring training alone, and the stadium began to look for other events to fill its schedule after sitting idle for most of 1986 to help the Bermuda grass field grow.[9] The stadium hosted a number of concerts.

The then-record Cactus League attendance of 9,812 fans was set on March 26, 1988 at Compadre for a game against the Chicago Cubs.[10]

The stadium was not built with lights and the Brewers negotiated with Chandler about their installation in 1989.[11] Additional practice fields were built on the complex grounds in 1990.[1]

Maricopa County bought the stadium from Patterson's group in 1993.[2]

After newer stadiums such as the Peoria Sports Complex or Scottsdale Stadium were completed for other Cactus League teams in the early 1990's, the Brewers requested $12 to $14 million from the city of Chandler to improve the stadium. However, the city of Chandler was only prepared for $9 million in renovations, half of which would have been paid for by Maricopa County.[12] After a $5 million bond election failed in 1996 the Brewers decided to move out.[5] The Brewers departed Compadre after the 1997 season and began Cactus League play the following year at the newly built Maryvale Baseball Park on the west side of the city of Phoenix, where the team holds spring training to this day.

Abandonment and Demolition[edit]

The stadium structure and field went unused and fell into a state of disrepair after only being used for twelve seasons. After the Brewers departed, some of the minor league practice fields on the site were taken over by the city of Chandler to create a local park, the Snedigar Recreation Center.[13] The seats were removed from the grandstand and animals were allowed to graze in the outfield area, but otherwise the facility was left intact.[14] The facility's concourse was used as office space by the Chandler Compadres, a local non-profit.[5]

In January 2014, Standard Pacific Homes (now CalAtlantic Homes) purchased the property and three months later submitted a proposal to tear down the ballpark and redevelop the lot as a new residential community.[15] Demolition of the remaining complex began in late July 2014.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Walsh, Jim (February 25, 2018). "Even without a diamond, Chandler Compadres shine". East Valley Tribune.
  2. ^ a b Sherwood, Robbie (December 13, 1997). "Brewers going, gone from Chandler". Arizona Republic. p. 156.
  3. ^ Haudricourt, Tom (1986-04-18). "Boom town pitches in to greet Brewers". The Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Brewers agree to move camp". The Milwaukee Journal. April 18, 1985. Part 3, p. 7.
  5. ^ a b c Zeiger, Dan (March 12, 2011). "Compadre Stadium just a shell of the groundbreaking venue it once was". East Valley Tribune.
  6. ^ a b Dave, Cap'n (March 1, 1989). "Compadre Stadium". Phoenix New Times.
  7. ^ Shain, Jeffrey (February 27, 1986). "Brewers' Camp Rocked by Gas Explosion, Fire". Schenectady Gazette (via UPI).
  8. ^ Plashko, John (December 29, 2010). "Old Compadre Stadium left the Brewers a lot to desire". Arizona Republic.
  9. ^ "Compadre Stadium needs busy summer". Arizona Republic. April 29, 1987. p. 185.
  10. ^ Johnson, Rodney. "The Cactus League: A Brief History". Society for American Baseball Research.
  11. ^ "Stadium lights deal with Chandler stalls". Arizona Republic. August 3, 1989. p. 69.
  12. ^ "Spring Training Vote Delayed a Week". Kingman Daily Miner. November 17, 1995.
  13. ^ "Abandoned Chandler field going to seed", East Valley Tribune, February 27, 2005
  14. ^ Russell, Doug (March 7, 2012). "There used to be a ballpark..." OnMilwaukee.com.
  15. ^ Mitchell, Michelle (April 8, 2014). "Chandler's Compadre Stadium may be replaced by homes". The Arizona Republic.
  16. ^ Williams, Chris (August 5, 2014). "Chandler stadium demolition to make way for new homes". KPNX.

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