Memories of Washington's Griffith Stadium

President Truman throws out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day at Griffith Stadium in 1950. i i

President Truman, left, throws out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day at Griffith Stadium, April 18, 1950. National Archives hide caption

itoggle caption National Archives
President Truman throws out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day at Griffith Stadium in 1950.

President Truman, left, throws out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day at Griffith Stadium, April 18, 1950.

National Archives
Alean Gardener, left, and Jack Bottash

Alean Gardener, left, and Jack Bottash recall time spent at Griffith Stadium, home to the former Washington Senators. Andrea Hsu, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Andrea Hsu, NPR

Before RFK stadium was built, the Washington Senators played at Griffith Stadium, named after the club's longtime owner, Clark Griffith. Built in 1911, after a fire at what was then called National Park, it was home to the Senators for half a century.

Washington-area old-timers recall the sights, sounds and smells of the ballpark.

Alean Gardener, 83, worked as a nanny for Jim Busby, who played with the Senators in the 1950s. She remembers the big crowds, riding streetcars to the stadium and 20-cent hot dogs.

Jack Bottash, 80, was an usher, working behind the visitors dugout at Griffith Stadium in 1958. He remembers presidents came to throw out the first pitch at season openers, grandstand tickets cost $1.25 and the atmosphere was more formal. "The gentlemen all came dressed up in suits," he says. "Ladies came in their hats and their dresses."

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