Renfrew Turns 88

On Victoria Day, 1933, Edmonton opened its second and longest-serving professional baseball stadium.

View from the short port in right field, Renfrew Park, 1933. Grand Trunk Pacific Railway’s Hotel Macdonald lies in the background. Image via the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

On May 24, 1933, a new baseball stadium opened in Alberta’s capital. A couple blocks south of Diamond Park — the home of Edmonton professional baseball since 1907 — on the Ross Flats Football Grounds, Renfrew Park was a 3,500 seat stadium designed by Henry Roche and future NHL President Clarence Campbell.

The game featured a matchup between the rival South Side Arctics and Royals of the senior league. The first pitch was thrown out by Attorney-General John Lymburn to Edmonton Mayor D.K. Knott (it was a ball). The Rajah of Renfrew himself, John Ducey, was the umpire. In a game that lasted only ninety-five minutes, the South Siders won 3–0.

The earliest iteration of the park would have been a dream for left-handed batters and opposite-field hitters. Dimensions were 319 to left field, 451 to centre, and only 279 feet to right. By comparison, Fenway Park currently has the shortest distance of any field in Major League Baseball to right field at 302 feet.

Two men standing in front of sign at front gate of Renfrew Baseball Park, Edmonton, 1937. Image via the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
Western International Baseball League playing at Renfrew Baseball park in Edmonton, Alberta. Taken sometime in 1954. Image via the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Facts about Renfrew Park:

  • Flood lights for night games were added in 1947.
  • Bleachers were added along the third base line in 1949.
  • Fire destroyed the original grandstand in 1950.
  • The stadium was renamed John Ducey Park in 1984. Capacity was 6,500.
  • Sponsorship deals have also seen the stadium name change to Telus Field (1995–2016) and Re/Max Field (2017-present).
  • Renovations in 1995 increased capacity to 9,055. Other renovations included Infield AstroTurf (1995–2004) and Infield FieldTurf (2004-present). A new turf field, scoreboard, and stadium lighting are currently being added.
  • Current ballpark dimensions are 340 to left field, 420 to centre, and 320 to right, with a 34 foot wall in centre field.
  • Former home of Triple A Edmonton Trappers (1981–2004) and other independent/semi-pro teams.
  • Current home to summer collegiate league team Edmonton Riverhawks (2020-present).
View of the Alberta Legislature grounds and right field, June 2015.
View of home base and the grandstand from centre field, June 2015.
View from the grandstand, June 2015. The new Walterdale Bridge has since replaced the crane behind centre field.

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