Viva Las Vegas? A History of Oakland Athletics Stadium Moves

Built for a new team in a new league in which no one knew what to expect, Columbia Park was immediately too small. It had a capacity of 9,500, although more people watched from nearby rooftops. The team tinkered with it, but even at its peak it held fewer than 14,000 fans.

The stadium’s most notable moment, at least in terms of absurdity, came in the 1905 World Series when Connie Mack’s Athletics and John McGraw’s New York Giants conspired to fake a rainout to avoid playing to a sparse crowd.

As recounted in The New York Times, Game 3 was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 11, but with a crowd of around 4,000 people, and pay for the clubs being entirely dependent on ticket sales, the managers agreed to pretend that a light drizzle earlier in the day had made the field unplayable. Sammy Strang, a utility player for the Giants, helped sell the ruse, with The Times saying, “A typical pantomime was that of Strang, who jumped under the stand, and, looking to the sky, stretched forth his arms and beckoned to the moisture to let itself fall.”

The gambit worked. The teams played Game 3 the next day, with a reported crowd of 10,991 that nearly tripled Wednesday’s gate.

The Athletics played three more forgettable years at Columbia and within a decade of them leaving, the stadium was torn down and replaced with housing.

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