Daniel W. Allen (Assistant City Manager of Richmond)
*Richard L. Andersen (Richmond Braves General Manager)
George W. Cheadle (RMA General Manager)
*Frederick T. Cooper
Robert J. Dahlstedt (Director of Planning of Henrico County)
Harry G. Daniel (Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Chairman)
Elmer C. Hodge (Assistant County Administrator of Chesterfield)
William J. Leidinger (Richmond City Council member)
Lee A. Putney
Robert S. Ukrop
John A. Waldrop, Jr. (Henrico County Board of Supervisors Chairman)
Andrew M. Dreelin, III
Gilbert O. Nicholson, Jr.
Douglas R. Maxwell
*not on original committee
General Contractor – McDevitt & Street Company
Architect – Baskervill & Son
Structural Engineer – Thomas A. Hanson & Associates, Inc.
RMA Representative – Torrence, Dreelin, Farthing & Buford, Inc.
Diamond Trivia (according to 1985 Richmond Braves Media Guide)
The first footer was poured on Sept. 12, 1984.
Construction for The Diamond took place in 226 days.
It took 4,000 man hours per week, or 128,000 total man hours to complete the construction.
The Diamond consists of 12 million pounds or 8,000 yards of precast cement.
One roof riser weighs 32 tons.
One of the 16 outer”Y”-shaped supports weighs 55 tons.
The price tag exceeded $8 million.
There are 3,205 box seats, 2,198 reserved seats and 7,097 general admission seats in The Diamond. (12,500 total seats)
The last row of general admission seats is 75 feet off the ground or 7.5 stories high.
Tommie Aaron Training Facilities
Dedicated April 20, 1985
In appreciation of his dedication and professionalism as a renowned Richmond Braves player from 1966 to 1972 and for his outstanding leadership as manager of the Richmond Braves in 1977 and 1978.
William Parker Fountain
Dedicated August 12, 1985
In grateful recognition of Dr. William H. Parker, beloved physician, civic leader, and sportsman. When AAA baseball came to Richmond in 1954, the ballpark was named Parker Field in his honor.
Frank Soden Press Box
Dedicated August 26, 1985
In appreciation of his outstanding and enthusiastic contribution to sportscasting in the Richmond area. His distinguished career as a broadcast journalist has included leadership participation in an incredible number of community activities.
Report dated 8/8/79
Central Richmond Association committee formed to investigate new multi-purpose stadium for city of Richmond changed to general Richmond Metropolitan Area working committee – combined Richmond, Chesterfield County and Henrico County Stadium Committee.
14 sites in the city of Richmond and five sites each from Chesterfield and Henrico.
The committee recommended Parker Field as site (north of Coliseum was second) and recommended 30.000-seat stadium designed to be expandable to 40,000 to be used for football, baseball and soccer as well as concerts and outdoor exhibitions. Estimated annual attendance would be near 600,000 in the first few years. Estimated cost would be between $12 and $14 million. Annual maintenance costs would be between $175,000 and $200,000.
The stadium would have hosted football for UR (I-A at the time), VUU, high schools, Tobacco Bowl, Gold Bowl, All-Star game and professional exhibition; baseball for Braves, exhibitions, college and high school; soccer, track meets and concerts.
Previous Stadium Studies
1975 – Stadium feasibility study by Metropolitan Richmond Chamber of Commerce
1978 – Improvements to Richmond Municipal Stadium by City of Richmond
1978 – Preliminary general specifications for a new stadium
CRA Stadium Location Committee
Stadium Committee formed in spring of 1983
Concluded that $20 million multipurpose stadium was not viable approach
Focus on top-notch sports facility at current Parker Field site (primarily for baseball)
Sept. 1983 survey by the Southeastern Institute of Research, Inc
Is Richmond Area perceived to need Parker Field type stadium
Does resident feel his/her government should support stadium effort
Report of attendance and revenue projections for new Parker Field Stadium for Metropolitan Richmond Stadium Committee by Zuchelli, Hunter & Associates, Inc.
Parker Field attendance
1980 187,462 17.3% increase
1981 218,208 16.4% increase
1982 255,864 17.3% increase
1983 300,896 17.6% increase
Projected initial-year attendance to range from 5,600 to 6,000, decline to 4,600 to 5,400 after 3 or 4 years, reach 5,000 to 5,700 by 1995.
According to Richmond Times-Dispatch published 6/7/09
Richmond Braves Home Attendance (since IL expanded from 10 to 14 for 1998)
Year Rank in IL Average Team record
2008 14 4,454 63-78
2007 12 4,945 77-64
2006 12 4,731 57-86
2005 10 6,014 56-88
2004 10 6,250 79-62
2003 7 7,093 64-79
2002 10 6,565 75-67
2001 8 6,574 68-76
2000 7 6,946 51-92
1999 4 7,481 64-78
1998 4 7,440 64-80
Richmond Flying Squirrels averaged 6,626 in 2010, #18 in minor league baseball and #2 among Double-A affiliates.
The Gwinnett Braves averaged 4,817 and ranked #13 of 14 IL franchises.
Richmond Braves home attendance (RTD 4/16/85)
May 22 – RMA Board adopts a resolution appointing the EC and requesting the EC to review, evaluate and make appropriate recommendations with respect to PF Design-Build proposals received
May 30 – Pre-proposal meeting of potential bidders at PF to inspect the site
May-June 30 – (a) Private sector fund raising; (b) development of financing package; (c) negotiations with the Braves on a new lease (including negotiations with concessionaires if they are not contracted for by the Braves)
June 11 – Richmond City Council: first reading of ordinance containing deed of the PF property to RMA
June 18 – Publication of first notice of RMA public hearing on the issuance of bonds to finance the PF project (as required by federal tax law and Virginia Industrial Development Bond law)
June 19 – Publication of RMA RFP soliciting proposals from engineering/architectural firms to assist it in overseeing construction of the PF project (as required by the Virginia Public Procurement Act). Publication of the RMA RFP soliciting bond counsel proposals.
June 25 – Publication of second notice of RMA public hearing on the issuance of boncs to finance the PF project.
June 25 – Richmond City Council: second reading and adoption of ordinance containing deed of the PF property to RMA
June 26 – Cut-off date for receipt of proposals by the EC in response to the Design-Build RFP
June 26 – Notice of special meeting of the RMA Board to be held on July 2 is sent out
June 28 – Evaluation by the EC of proposals received in response to the Design/Build RFP
June 29 – Cut-off date for receipt of all proposals to serve as RMA engineering/architectural “overseer” for the PF project and to serve as bond counsel
July 2 – RMA Board meeting at which the following actions are taken by the RMA Board:
Public hearing is held on the RMA bond issuance
Bond authorization resolution is adopted
Deed of the PF property is accepted
Number of proposers responding to the Design-Build RFP is narrowed down to three
Adoption of a resolution setting forth the composition, powers and duties of the SOC and its relationship to the RMA Board
Selection of RMA engineering/architectural “overseer” for the PF project
Selection of bond counsel
Approval of draft bond documents
Approval of moral obligation contract supporting the bonds
July 9 – EC holds contract development meetings with the three top bidders (talks designed to answer any questions about proposals made and to further refine the proposals)
July 9 – Richmond City Council:
adopts a resolution approving the issuance by RMA of its PF bonds
first reading of moral obligation contract supporting the bonds
July 17 – RMA regular meeting: Cost proposals on the Design-Build RFP are opened and RMA Board (with the assistance of the EC) chooses and announces the winning bidder
July 20 – RMA staff (with the assistance of the EC) holds talks with the winning bidder to put any finishing touches on the construction contract and to discuss project scheduling
July 20 – Notice of special meeting of the RMA Board to be held on July 24 is sent out
July 23 – Richmond City Council: second reading and adoption of moral obligation contract supporting the RMA PF bonds
July 24 – RMA Board meeting at which the following actions are taken:
[all corporate pledges and gifts have been received and, as necessary, are ready to be funded out by commitment of the Banks]
Lease with the Braves is signed by the Braves and the RMA
Moral obligation contract supporting the RMA PF bonds is signed by all parties
Bond documents are executed and RMA PF bonds are issued [NB: if RMA does not issue its bonds on July 24, can it enter into a design-build contract on that date – which it must do in order to have the PF project completed on time? Possible solution: if bonds cannot be issued by July 24, see if RMA can contract with the winning bidder to pay only for work done and materials ordered (not to exceed a fixed amount) through Septenber 1, 1984, with no further liability and no duty to proceed unless the bonds are issued and notice to proceed is given by that date. The three political jurisdictions would then have to agree (probably as a part of their moral obligation contracts) to fund such amount if the bonds were not issued. Bidders should be notified in early June if this change is contemplated. Notice could be given by sending out an addendum to the Design-Build RFP.]
Design-Build contract is executed.
July 25 – Detailed design work begins (fast track basis)
September 4 – Demolition at PF begins
April 15, 1985 – New PF ready for occupancy
Richmond Braves and Richmond Virginians Top Ten attendance marks
(8/14/85 edition of Richmond News Leader)
Tom Haudricourt article 4/16/85 supplement
“This just doesn’t happen everywhere,” said Andersen. “I’ll treasure this experience for the rest of my life. It’s a monument to the dedication of all the people who worked to put it together.”
“I walked out on the field the other day and took a look at what has been done,” said Hollander, “I could only look at it and say, ‘My God, did we really do this?”
City wanted Braves to build the stadium. Braves said it was the city’s obligation.
Team was close to leaving
Andersen convinced Moffatt & Chamber of importance of baseball
Moffatt & Andersen went to Atlanta to talk with Sanders.
Fall & winter 1983-84
Richmond committed first
Henrico & Chesterfield came on board
Summer 1984-Spring 1985
Private sector funds
Richard 32-year old GM
Two years of calling attention to deplorable conditions at PF
Deficit reduction act, limited the amount of revenue bonds that could be issued by any locality. Chesterfield had given up its quota. Reps of General Assembly talked to Gov. Charles S. Robb to see if state had some bonds that could be allocated to Chesterfield.
11-hour non-stop meeting on Aug. 31 Charles Sanders, Doug Maxwell (RMA’s attorney), Andersen, Dan Allen (Richmond’s assistant city manager). Lease had to be signed so demolition of PF could start the next day
July 2, 1984 press conference by fund-raising committee to announce community to ‘pitch in’ to help build new ballpark.
Shelley Rolfe RTC 11/27/85
The column also invoked memories of three decades ago, when a group of public-spirited people banded together to form Greater Richmond Civic Recreation Corp. to sell $360,000 for the conversion of Parker Field into a home for a new Richmond International League team.
The recounting of what happened in 1954 had caught Ukrop’s attention when he was cleaning his desk. He wished he had known more about it when he embarked on the Diamond project.
A knowledge of history, Ukrop said, always is instructive. He wished some of the leading players in GRCR had left memoirs. Only one of them is alive, Dr. Ed Haddock, who was mahor in 1954. Haddock, Ukrop said, has put together a memoir, a 16 mm film on Parker Field’s formative days.
Ukrop wondered if the GRCR fund-raisers had ‘bitten their fingernails’ as he had done. Emphatically, yes. Ukrop began articulating a philosophy. “Life is a series of crises,” he said. “You finish college. You settle down at work. You get married. At each stop, you figure it’s going to get easier/” And there always is a fresh hurdle to surmount.
Jennings Culley 4/18/85
The Diamond will stand as the House That Community Spirit Built.
Into the Windup
August deadline for committed funds
Having a Triple A baseball franchise, especially a quality operation like the Atlanta Braves’, is a precious asset for the metropolitan area.
There are also the intangibles associated with having a regular source of wholesome family entertainment and having Richmond’s name circulated widely as an International League member.
So, go government. Go private enterprise. Go fans. GO TEAM!
Bill Millsaps column
Fastballs mark Stadium’s ‘pitch’
Fenton Hord, president of Eskimo Pie Corp., announced the start of a two-month campaign that involves 100 local retail outlets, all of which will earmark portions of the sale of certain products for the new ball park. Then there will be “I’m Pitching In To Build a New Ball Park” buttons; they’ll sell for $10 and the money will go into the stadium construction fund. The goal is to raise $500,000 from those efforts, Hord said.
Jan. 1, 1985 RTD
City, counties cooperating
Paula C. Squires and Frank Green
The grandstands, sky boxes and dugouts at the Diamond (old Parker Field) will embody a spirit of regional cooperation that flourished in the Richmond metropolitan area in 1984.
The subconstractor, Robert L. Snow of Snow’s General Services, says his company was not chosen to demolish the aging Parker Field grandstand to make way for the new stadium because he is black. Snow was the low bidder on the demolition.
McDevitt & Street argued that they would have taken too long to knock down grandstand
Top sports story for 1985 RNL, tied for 10th for top news story.
Richmond Braves 1985 Larry McPhail Award – best operation in minor league baseball
Jaycees Season Ticket Drive brochure in Henrico County utility bills
1985 attendance: 368,656
1986 attendance: 403,252
Let’s Play Ball Together
(Fundraising Game Plan for New Stadium)
Goal of $4 million
$3 million pledged by July 1, 1984, campaign running through May, 1985
3-year payment plan 1984, 1985, 1986
Large firms 4/16-6/29 $100,000-250,000 $2,300,000 goal
Medium size firms 5/7-7/13 $25,000-75,000 1,000,000 goal
Smaller firms 6/4-8/31 $5,000-20,000 600,000 goal
Professionals 5/14-8/31 $100-25,000 100,000 goal
Public Appeal/Marketing 6/4-5/1985 $1 and up 200,000 goal
Braves badge $10 each (kid wearing or accompanied by wearer in free to PF
Print on Grocery Bags
Fact sheet on Stadium
7/3/84 NL: Community goes to bat again – 30 years after big hit
In Play By Jennings Culley
They say it’s unsafe, unsightly, inadequate…and they’re right. But 30 years ago, Parker Field was a baseball delight. No architectural beauty, mind you, but a monument to what spirited citizens of a community could do in a short time.
Three decades ago, the drama in Richmond’s return to the International League was not in the awarding of the AAA franchise to a city where Class B baseball had long thrived. The excitement and suspense in the story was the way community effort made it work…the way enthusiastic citizens pulled together.
The franchise was awarded in the dead of winter, 1953, but a park large enough to meet IL standards was not available. That’s when community leaders such as Ed Phillips, Andrew Welch, Ed Haddock and many others formed Greater Richmond Civic Recreation and went about raising funds to convert a grandstand from the old fairgrounds on North Boulevard into an 11,000-seat baseball park.
Of course, in those days, you were speaking of $400,000, not $8 million. But the challenge, especially as far as time, was as great then as it is now. It was a matter of months and money.
Back then, the groundswell of support was mind-boggling. Civic clubs, church groups, organizations of all kind and private citizens by the thousands contributed funds and bought GRCR bonds.
In two months, the goal was reached, and on March 17, 1954, a contract was let to begin the conversion. That was just 22 days before the New York Yankees were due here for an exhibition. It seemed an impossible task. They poured a concrete concourse and hooked it to the grandstand (the first base side now). They built box seats and dugouts. They erected a lighting system. They rented and set up bleachers from the Washington Redskins.
Workmen were still hammering and saws were still buzzing as fans came in the game for the Yankee exhibition. Even a violent thunderstorm that struck minutes before the game couldn’t spoil the day. The game went on, and Parker Field was a reality.
It was a year later before the park took its current configuration. Again, through the financial backing of community leaders, GRCR purchased a wooden stadium in Scranton, Pa., and hauled it here. It was set up behind home plate and along the third base line.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was the largest ball park in Virginia. It was a cozy park from which a generation of fans have enjoyed watching baseball. They remember the Mel Stottlemyres, the Tommie Aarons, the Deron Johnsons, the Dale Murphys who have paraded through. But they remember most the public excitement and community spirit that brought it all about.
Now the community has to go to bat again.
B&W Photo (L to R): John A. Waldrop Jr., chairman of the Henrico Board of Supervisors; Richmond Mayor Roy West; local businessman Robert Ukrop; Chesterfield Supervisor Geoffrey Applegate; and Lee Putney, chairman of the Metropolitan Richmond Chamber of Commerce, celebrate the joint effort to replace Parker Field’s stadium. Staff photo by Masaaki Okada (Richmond Times-Dispatch) (March 1984)