When Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened on April 6, 1992, a new era of Major League Baseball began. The park was brand new, but still old-fashioned. State-of-the-art, yet quaint. At less than a day old, it was already a classic.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards inspired a generation of ballpark construction. No longer would communities across America build multipurpose stadiums devoid of character, surrounded by vast parking lots. Ballparks would now be created to nestle neatly into existing and historic neighborhoods and play key roles in the revitalization of urban America.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards captured the nation's attention from day one and in has served as the standard by which all new ballparks are measured. Citizens of Baltimore and all of Maryland, as well as Orioles fans throughout Birdland, should take great pride in the fact that our team makes its home in the ballpark that forever changed baseball.
The construction of the park was completed in essentially 33 months from the time razing previous structures on the 85-acre parcel began June 28, 1989 in the area known as Camden Yards.
The one-time railroad center is 12 minutes west by foot from the City's Inner Harbor and only 2 blocks from the birthplace of baseball's most legendary hero, George Herman "Babe" Ruth. Ruth's father operated Ruth's Cafe on the ground floor of the family residence located at Conway Street & Little Paca, now center field at Oriole Park. The ballpark originally seated 48,041 (and now seats 45,971), and the project cost was approximately $110 million. It was designed by the Kansas City architectural firm of Helmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) with direction and input from the Orioles and the State of Maryland, which owns and operates the facility through its agency, the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA).
Working under contract to HOK were the urban design firm of RTKL, the landscape architecture firm of Wallace, Roberts and Todd, and the engineering firms of Bliss and Nyitray; Rummel, Klepper and Kahl; and Kidde Consultants, Inc. Working under contract to the Orioles were the interior design firm of Forte Design and the graphic design firm of David Ashton and Associates.
Oriole Park is state-of-the-art, yet unique, traditional and intimate in design. It blends with the urban context of downtown Baltimore while taking its image from baseball parks built in the early 20th century. Steel, rather than concrete trusses, an arched brick facade, a sun roof over the gentle slope of the upper deck, an asymmetrical playing field, and natural grass turf are just some of the features that tie it to those magnificent big league ballparks built in the early 1900's. Ebbets Field (Brooklyn), Shibe Park (Philadelphia), Fenway Park (Boston), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Wrigley Field (Chicago), and The Polo Grounds (New York) were among the ballparks that served as powerful influences in the design of Oriole Park.