Hiram Bithorn StadiumEdit profile
Hiram Bithorn Stadium ( Estadio Hiram Bithorn in Spanish) is a baseball park in San Juan, Puerto Rico, operated by the municipal government of the city of San Juan. Its name honors the first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues, Hiram Bithorn, who first played with the Chicago Cubs in 1942. Built in 1962, under the mayoral administration of Felisa Rincón de Gautier, replacing Estadio Sixto Escobar, the stadium is home to the San Juan Senators and was formerly home to the Santurce Crabbers, of the Puerto Rico Baseball League.
The stadium has approximately 18,000 seats. The field dimensions were set to match Olympic Stadium in Montreal when the Expos played home games at Hiram Bithorn. The stadium is 325 feet (99 m) down the left field line, 325 feet (99 m) down the right field line and 404 feet (123 m) to center field. The fences are 8 feet (2.5 m) high.
The stadium hosted Major League Baseball's Opening Day Game in 2001, in which the Toronto Blue Jays faced the Texas Rangers in an American League match-up. However, 4,000 who bought tickets were turned away when the police determined the safe capacity of the park had been vastly exceeded. It was the object of a major overhaul under the mayoral administration of Jorge Santini, before becoming the part-time home of the Montreal Expos of the National League in 2003 and 2004 prior to their move to Washington, D.C. as the Washington Nationals. The Expos played 22 "home" games in each season as a result of poor attendance at their home Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Prior to Major League Baseball's announcement of the Montreal Expos move to Washington, Puerto Rico and San Juan made an effort to lure the Expos franchise to the island territory permanently. Hiram Bithorn Stadium hosted parts of the first two rounds of the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Pool C, which included the teams of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama, and the Netherlands, was played there. It also hosted Pool 2 of the second round of the Classic which featured Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, the top two finishers from Pool C and Pool D. Pool D games of the 2009 were played there between March 7 and March 11, 2009. In 2008, it served as the stadium for Atléticos de San Juan and Academia Quintana, two soccer teams in the Puerto Rico Soccer League, Puerto Rico's first ever professional soccer league. In 2010, Major League Baseball returned to the stadium, as the Florida Marlins faced the New York Mets in a three game series during the regular season.
Along with sporting events, the stadium has hosted concerts by many famous artists. Metallica were scheduled to perform during their Nowhere Else to Roam Tour on April 28, 1993, but it was rained out and never rescheduled. Shakira has performed twice, during her Tour Anfibio, on April 9, 2000 and during the Tour of the Mongoose, on March 22, 2003. As of now, this was the last major concert to be held at the stadium.