Turner Field has witnessed quite a bit of success, as the Atlanta Braves teams of the mid-90s and the turn of the century didn’t appear capable of missing the playoffs. This venue opened on March 29th, 1997, and was home to Major League Baseball playoffs for the first nine seasons of its existence. Originally, the fans wanted to call this ballpark Hank Aaron Stadium, but instead the venue was named after Ted Turner, despite the fact that he’s never had a single at-bat in the majors.
Located off the I-85, a little bit south of central Atlanta, Turner Field was initially constructed as an Olympic venue for the ill-fated 1996 Summer Olympics hosted by Atlanta. Once it completed its duties as the 85,000 seat Centennial Olympic Stadium, the north end was eliminated so it could be used as a baseball stadium with a capacity of 49,586.
Alas, Turner Field will witness its last ballgame on October 2nd, 2016, against the Detroit Tigers. The Braves will be moving to SunTrust Park, a new ballpark located in the northwestern Atlanta suburbs away from the downtown area.
Atlanta Braves Stadium
The past couple of years haven’t been kind to the Braves, including a pair of sub-.500 seasons where they’ve had to watch the Nationals and the Mets take control of the division. In 2014, the Braves did manage to finish three game above .500 at home. However, a disastrous 2015 campaign witnesses them more than 20 games out of a playoff spot, struggling to finish with a winning home record.
Despite the fact that 2015 MLB Park Factor stats show Turner Field as one of the bottom third stadiums for hits and one of the worst for home runs, the field produced a slightly above average number of runs, likely because this stadium induces pitchers to walk batters at a top-three rate compared to the rest of the league.
Some of the best premium seats are located in Turner Field, consisting of the SunTrust Club that was created in 2008 at a cost of $6 million. This section has 143 premium seats, most of which are closer to home plate than the pitcher’s mound, beating out other ballparks and the distance of their premium seats.
Date Opened: March 29, 1997
Construction Cost: $209 Million
Architect: Heery International Inc.; Rosser International Inc.; Williams-Russell and Johnson Inc.; Ellerbe Becket Inc.
Ballpark Type: Retro Classic
Capacity Attendance: 49,586
Playing Surface: Seashore Paspalum and Tifway 419 Bermuda Grass
Previous Atlanta Braves Stadium
South End Grounds; Congress Street Grounds; Fenway Park; Braves Field; Milwaukee County Stadium; Atlanta-Fulton Country Stadium
Other Major Events
1996 Summer Olympics
Initially, this stadium was built to welcome the world for the 1996 Summer Olympics – unofficially known as the centennial Olympic games. This stirred controversy, as cities such as Athens, which would symbolically be a more appropriate host for the 100th anniversary of the modern games, were passed over for the games.
An NCAA rivalry game between the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech has been played at Turner Field, drawing more attendance than the College World Series games in 2004. This annual event helps raise money for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta organization.