Point Stadium

HISTORIC POINT STADIUM

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View several Walking Tour Videos of Johnstown Landmarks such as The Point Stadium and the Inclined Plane - sponsored by the Cambria County Visitors Bureau

Johnstown's Point Stadium Video Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_EZTVRGoVQ&feature=related 

Johnstown's Inclined Plane Video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HQjl5-tdJw 

 

Point Stadium is a Johnstown landmark rich in tradition and history. The grand old stadium has hosted movie stars, rock stars, football and baseball Hall of Famers, and hundreds of thousands of passoinate fans throughout its long history.  Lets start with first things first, when did it all begin? The geographic location where Johnstown’s Point Stadium is now situated was first declared land for recreational use by Johnstown founder Joseph Johns in 1800 ( http://www.johnstownpa.com/History/hist06.html ) .

View Of Point Stadium - 1930's

The unique plot is situated in a valley surrounded by lush hillsides, a confluence of rivers, and a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Adding to the ambiance of the grand old Point is Johnstown’s Inclined Plane ( http://www.inclinedplane.org/ ) , the “World’s Steepest Vehicular Inclined Plane” built by Cambria Iron Works in 1890. The Point provides a great view of the unique structure while cars slowly descend up and down the mountain every 15 minutes like clockwork - A highly recommended stop for visitors to the city and just a short walk from Point Stadium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnstown's Inclined Plane, Just Blocks Away From Point Stadium

Although professional baseball in Johnstown dates back to the sports earliest roots in the 1880’s, Johnstown’s historic Point Stadium was not constructed until the 1920’s. First built in 1926, Point Stadium was one of the most innovative and unique stadiums in the country. Wedged into a triangular city block at the confluence of the Little Conemaugh and Stonycreek Rivers in downtown Johnstown, the ballpark is to say the least “quirky and unique” - as many first time visitors describe it. The original “Point” was a 17,000 seat double tiered stadium boasting an impressive grand stand behind home plate.

 

A view of the Point Stadium in the 1930’s during a football game

A View of the Point Stadium in the 1930’s during a football game

In 1944, the Upper Grandstand was closed for safety concerns. Some time later around 1960, the upper tier was completely removed and the seating capacity was reduced to 10,000.

In 2005, the last of the original Point Stadium was demolished and a newly constructed, more modern, single tiered stadium was built in the exact same location. The new point has undergone over $11 million in reconstruction adding a new entrance way, seating, concession stands, locker rooms, dugouts, restrooms, lights, scoreboard, walls, audio system, and a state of the art artificial turf playing surface and drainage system. There are plans to eventually re-build the grandstand behind home plate pending the availability of funds.

The New Point Stadium - 2008

The new Point hosted its first game August 8, 2006 when Johnstown defeated Chicago 11 - 1 in the Opening Round of the AAABA tournament. The first game was to be played August 7, 2006 before it was washed out shortly after the first pitch.

 


Tribune Democrat, Johnstown PA Excerpt by Mike Mastovich:

“The biggest opening night to hit Point Stadium in 80 years was moving right along.Right up until the very first pitch in the official opener of the 62nd AAABA Tournament.

A bolt of lightning flared at 7:33 p.m. on Monday night, minutes after the conclusion of a nearly hour-long pregame celebration touting the massive $11 million in renovations to the Point.

The umpires sent the players from both Johnstown’s Principle Development and Chicago Metro to their respective dugouts as a standing-room-only crowd estimated at 6,500 watched in disappointment.

A heavy downpour followed. After that initial storm passed and the grounds crew tended to the field, another drenching followed. The game was postponed at 8:59 p.m. after a delay of an hour and 26 minutes.”


As any Johnstowner knows, rain and floods are nothing new, so perhaps the Point’s grand re-opening was fitting in some strange way.

While the original Point has passed into history, it leaves behind a treasure trove of history and memories:


Although we now take for granted baseball at night, it wasn’t always that way. It’s a little known fact that on August 4, 1930 the Point Stadium hosted the second ever night baseball game under the lights.

 

Throughout the years Point Stadium has been home to many professional teams, perhaps most notably it was the occasional home to the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays Negro National League teams in the 1930s. Stars such as the legendary slugger Josh Gibson once dug in at the Points home plate. In later years, other Negro League Baseball legends would follow. In 1945, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige appeared at the Point as part of a Negro League barnstorming tour.

 

 

 

From the 1920’s to the World War II era, barnstorming baseball tours were popular throughout the country and especially in small towns and minor league cities. Johnstown and the Point Stadium were no exception. In 1927, the legendary 1927 Yankees including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig paid a visit to the Point for an exhibition game. Although Babe did not homer in the game, urban legend says he smacked a towering home run out of the stadium on to Johns Street in centerfield during batting practice.

Ruth and Gehrig Seen Above in Their Barnstorming Uniforms - The Bustin' Babes vs. The Larrupin Lou's

Johnstown and the Point have also been home to several minor league teams dating back to the late 1920’s. Early stars such as Hall of Famer Joe Cronin (1925), Charles “Chief” Bender (1927 -28, Manager), and Babe Adams (1928, Manager) once suited up for the Johnnies of the Mid-Atlantic League. The Point was last used for professional baseball from 1995 to 2002 by the Johnstown Steal and Johnstown Johnnies of the Frontier League. (See Team History below)

All the right moves

 

POINT TRIVIA

In 1983, Tom Cruise, Lea Thompson, and Craig T. Nelson came to town to film the movie “All the Right Moves. The Point was used for several key shoots in the movie.

In July of 1983, the Point hosted the World Friendship Series international baseball tournament.

In the late 80’s, the Point Stadium hosted a young up and coming rock group – Bon Jovi. This was essentially the last major concert held at the stadium after much of the field was heavily damaged.

During the off-season, Point Stadium is the home to local high school and community football teams. In addition, The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown baseball team has used the field on occasion.

 

 

 

POINT QUICK FACTS

Built: 1926

Demolished: 2005

Reopened: 2006

Capacity: 7,000

The unusual high rising Left Field Wall Screen is affectionately called the “Screen Monster” by the locals

The second ever baseball game played under lights was at the Point in 1930.

 

Field Dimensions

1926

Left Field: 251 feet Center Field: 385 feet Right Field: 262 feet

 

2006

Left Field: 290 feet Left Center Field: 336 feet Center Field: 409 feet Right Center Field: 395 feet Right Field: 290 feet

 

 

POINT STADIUM TIMELINE

1926: The stadium opens with a morning-afternoon doubleheader July 5.

1927: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig play for the New York Yankees in an exhibition game. Ruth hit a homer in batting practice, but not in the game.

1930: The first night baseball game is played under new lights, Aug. 4.

1944: The stadium’s upper grandstand is closed due to safety concerns. The structure is dismantled in 1960, and a new roof is added over the grandstand in 1961.

1945: The first All-American Amateur Baseball Association Tournament is played in Johnstown.

1977: Floodwaters ravage Johnstown, killing 85 people and causing $300 million in damage. The Point also sustains damage, and the AAABA Tournament moves out of town for one year.

1994: The AAABA celebrates it's 50th Anniversary

1995: The city’s new professional baseball team, the Steal, plays its first game after extensive renovations at Point Stadium. Later called the Johnnies, the team plays its last game in 2002.

2004: The AAABA celebrates its 60th Anniversary.

2006: The Point Stadium re-opens with Johnstown defeating Chicago in the opening round of the AAABA tournament.

 

 

Professional Baseball Teams Calling Point Stadium Home
Negro National League Teams  
Homestead Grays 1930's
Pittsburgh Crawfords 1930's
   
AA Teams  
Johnstown Johnnies 1955 - 56
Johnstown Red Sox 1961
   
Class C Teams  
Johnstown Johnnies 1925 - 38
  1946 - 50
Class D Teams  
Johnstown Johnnies 1939 - 42
   
Independent Minor League Teams  
Johnstown Steal 1995 - 97
Johnstown Johnnies 1998 - 2002
   
NCAA Teams  
Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown 2007 - Present

 
 


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