Griffith Stadium | Home From 1937-1960

Griffith Stadium

Stadium Information

Opened 1891
First Senators game April 22, 1903
Rebuilt July 24, 1911
First night game May 28, 1941
Last game September 21, 1961
Demolished January 26, 1965
Capacity 32,000 (1921); 27,550 (1961)
Architect Osborn Engineering (1911)

Stadium History

  • Griffith Stadium stood between Georgia Avenue and 5th Street (left field), and between W Street and Florida Avenue NW, from 1911 to 1965.
  • An earlier wooden baseball park was built in 1891 on the site, and was called National Park. It was a baseball park and the team in D.C. was (of course) known as The Nationals.
  • National Park was destroyed by a fire in the grandstand along the third-base line, in March 1911.
  • It was replaced by a steel and concrete structure built by Osborn Engineering and opened in July of the same year.
  • The grass field stadium was renamed Griffith Stadium in 1920, for the owner of the Washington Senators, Clark Griffith.
  • During their stay at Griffith, the Redskins won NFL Championships in 1937 and 1942, as well as Eastern Division Titles in 1937, 1940, 1942, 1943 and 1945.
  • The most one-sided game in NFL history was played there; a 73-0 drubbing from the Bears in the 1940 Championship Title game.
  • Griffith Stadium closed September 21, 1961 and was demolished on January 26, 1965.

Did You Know

  • In the Redskins‘ inaugural game, they beat the New York Giants 13-3 under a dim lighting system that had been used for college football
  • It was the smallest capacity park in the majors at 32,000, but it’s distant fences made it one of the toughest parks for home run hitters. It measured 402 feet down the left field line and 421 to center, and the 328 feet to right field was guarded against homers by a 30-foot wall. Mickey Mantle hit one clear out of the park over the faraway left-center bleachers, but nobody else.
  • Only Griffith Stadium, then later RFK Stadium, lured presidents of the United States to the opening game to throw out the opening pitch. From President Taft in 1911 to President Nixon in 1971, they came to Griffith Stadium and to RFK Stadium – a distinction no other park could claim.

Notable Tenants

Washington Redskins
Washington played at Griffith stadium from the time they transferred from Boston in 1937 through the 1960 season. During their stay they won Eastern Division Championships in 1937, 1940, 1942, 1943 and 1945, and won the NFL Championship in 1937 and 1942.

Washington Senators
The Stadium was home to the American League Senators from 1911 to 1960. Newspaper articles for decades used the names Senators and Nationals interchangeably until Griffith officially change the name to Senators in 1957. Three years later they moved to Minneapolis and became the Twins. When the original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1960, Major League Baseball awarded a team to Washington giving it the same name as the team that left the year before.

Homestead Grays
Griffith Stadium served as a part-time home for the Negro League team called the Homestead Grays during the 1930s and 40s.The Grays played their home games at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, during this same period the club adopted the Washington, D.C. area as its “home away from home” and scheduled many of its “home” games at Griffith.

Howard University Hospital
In the fall of 1961, the Redskins and Senators moved to the newly built D.C. Stadium (re-named R.F.K. Stadium in 1968). Griffith Stadium was demolished in 1965 and Howard University Hospital now stands on the site.

Interested in more stadium information? Check out our page on RFK.

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