Games that were played at non-MLB parks

August 20th, 2023

Major League Baseball games naturally tend to be played at Major League Baseball stadiums. That’s self-explanatory. But once in a while, some other site gets a brief taste of The Show.

The most recent example was the first Field of Dreams Game, which took place on Thursday night in Dyersville, Iowa, where the Yankees and White Sox battled it out in the middle of a corn field. That event will return in August 2022, according to Commissioner Rob Manfred, but we won’t have to wait that long for another game in a non-MLB ballpark. That will arrive Aug. 22, when the Angels face Cleveland in the fourth edition of the MLB Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa.

Below is a breakdown of regular-season MLB games that have taken place over the years at non-MLB ballparks, separated by venue and then year. To be clear, this does not include venues where a team stayed for an extended period of time, like the Blue Jays have done in Dunedin, Fla., and Buffalo over the past couple of seasons.

International locations

Going back to 1996, MLB has put on regular-season games in Australia, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. (Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory but competes as its own team in international baseball competitions). The 2019 schedule included a season-opening series in Tokyo, a pair of two-game sets in Monterrey, Mexico, and the first London Series, before the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary halt to going abroad.

Field of Dreams Game -- Dyersville, Iowa
Aug. 12, 2021: White Sox 9, Yankees 8

The first Field of Dreams Game was supposed to be played in August 2020, before it was postponed due to the pandemic. But as Thursday night’s dramatic affair showed, it was worth the wait.

The setting was spectacular for the first MLB game in Iowa. The pre-game ceremonies featured actor Kevin Costner -- star of the popular 1989 film -- emerging from the cornfield beyond the outfield fence, followed by players from both teams. And the baseball itself was thrilling. The Yankees got two homers from Aaron Judge, as well as a go-ahead shot from Giancarlo Stanton that capped a top-of-the-ninth rally against Chicago closer Liam Hendriks. The White Sox answered in the bottom of the frame, and star shortstop Tim Anderson sent everyone home with a two-run, walk-off blast to right field.

Next year can’t get here soon enough.

Little League Classic -- Williamsport, Pa.
Aug. 20, 2017: Pirates 6, Cardinals 3
Aug. 19, 2018: Mets 8, Phillies 2
Aug. 18, 2019: Cubs 7, Pirates 1
Aug. 22, 2021: Angels vs. Indians (scheduled)

It’s almost time for the 2021 edition at Historic Bowman Field, after the 2020 event (Orioles vs. Red Sox) had to be canceled due to the pandemic. There have been three Little League Classic games in the past, honoring the connection between youth baseball and the Majors, at the site of the Little League World Series. It’s a chance not only to play a big league game in a unique location, but also for the Little Leaguers to get up close and personal with their Major League heroes -- and for those stars to honor their roots.

The inaugural game in 2017 was a roaring success, for reasons far beyond the Pirates’ 6-3 victory over the Cardinals, which came on the strength of Josh Bell’s four RBIs. Since then, it’s continued to be a joyous event and a celebration of the game, regardless of the results on the field.

MLB in Omaha -- Omaha, Neb.
June 13, 2019: Royals 7, Tigers 3

The Tigers and Royals clubs traveled to Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series, for a contest played right before the 2019 NCAA event got underway. That year's eight CWS teams lined up alongside the Tigers and Royals around the diamond before first pitch, with each school coming on to the field to the tune of its fight song. Nebraska native and Royals outfielder Alex Gordon caught one of the ceremonial first pitches, drawing a large roar from the crowd attending the first MLB game played in the Cornhusker State. Nicky Lopez hit his first career homer as part of a 7-3 Royals win.

Fort Bragg Game -- Fort Bragg, N.C.
July 3, 2016: Marlins 5, Braves 2

This was the first MLB game held at an active military base, and the armed forces were a focal point of the festivities throughout. Played at the newly constructed, 12,500-seat Fort Bragg Field on Independence Day weekend, the game was an effort to honor U.S. servicemen and servicewomen.

For everyone involved, it was about a lot more than Miami’s win, which featured a three-hit effort from catcher J.T. Realmuto, including a home run. It was also a chance for the players to show their appreciation for the men and women who serve.

Rays at Disney’s Wide World of Sports -- Kissimmee, Fla.
Six games in May 2007 and April ‘08

These were Rays home games -- actually, Devil Rays home games in 2007 -- played out in the open air rather than Tropicana Field. In both of these seasons, the team shifted one series from its South Florida home to Central Florida, looking to raise its profile in a different part of the state. Attendance ranged between 8,200 and 9,700 fans for each of the six games, which were played at a Minor League ballpark that also was used as the Braves’ Spring Training home at the time. The venue change certainly worked for Tampa Bay on the field, yielding three-game sweeps over the Rangers in '07 and Blue Jays in ‘08.

‘Paradise Series’ -- Honolulu, Hawaii
April 19, 1997: Cardinals 1, Padres 0
April 19, 1997: Cardinals 2, Padres 1
April 20, 1997: Padres 8, Cardinals 2

Major League Baseball in paradise? Why not? In 1997, MLB branched out beyond the continental U.S., setting up a three-game series between the Cardinals and Padres (including a doubleheader) at Aloha Stadium, on the island of Oahu. Players certainly didn’t mind the journey to a location typically reserved for offseason vacations, getting a taste of the beach in addition to the three games, which were played in front of more than 37,000 fans.

There was some fun baseball as well, with Dennis Eckersley closing out a Cardinals shutout in the first game, Alan Benes pitching a complete-game victory in the second, and Rickey Henderson and Tony Gwynn combining for four hits and three steals in the third (when St. Louis’ Ron Gant also hit an inside-the-park homer).

A’s at Cashman Field -- Las Vegas
Six games in April 1996

Oakland had to make alternative arrangements to open the 1996 season, with the Oakland Coliseum being renovated to make room for the NFL’s Raiders, who were returning to the city after a stint in Los Angeles. (Coincidentally, the Raiders would later leave Oakland again, this time for … Las Vegas).

With few options on short notice, the A’s chose to play at Cashman Field, an active Minor League ballpark in the Pacific Coast League that had a small capacity but at least wasn’t too far from home. The six games there were predictably offense-heavy, averaging nearly 14 total runs, as the A’s went 2-4.

Dodgers at Roosevelt Stadium -- Jersey City, N.J.
15 games in 1956-57

The Dodgers in Brooklyn? Sure. The Dodgers in Los Angeles? Of course. But the Dodgers in New Jersey? That also happened, briefly.

As MLB.com’s Mike Petriello detailed here, the team moved a handful of games to Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium over its final two seasons before moving to California, in an attempt to push for a new ballpark. That didn’t work, but it did give six future Hall of Famers the chance to hit home runs in New Jersey.