DICK HELLER: The spirit of Griffith lingers 50 years later – The Wash. Times
On this day in 1961, the Washington Senators era at Griffith Stadium came to a close.
Contrary to the madness of the 1971 finale when rowdy fans caused a forfeit in advance of the Senators leaving to “some jerk town with a single boast of being equidistant between Dallas and Ft. Worth”, sentimentality was low:
“There were no eulogies, no ceremonies, no tears,” Bob Addie reported in The Washington Post. Columnist Shirley Povich put it this way: “A stadium was laid to rest. Not many showed up for the services, and the deceased was not much of a draw.”
Yet it was a mournful day for those of us who practically grew up there. Sure Griffith was a dump, but it was our dump.
Only 1,498 were in attendance to see the expansion Senators face the Minnesota Twins, who had been D.C.’s team until Calvin Griffith moved them out because he was a racist.
The Senators would move in to RFK Stadium the next April. The Redskins moved in 9 days later.
Also, it was noted that PR man, Charlie Brotman suggested that Griffith Stadium be opened up for fans looking for souvenirs prior to the 1965 demolition, but the Senators ownership thought it was foolish. Brotman was able to save the presidential seats and still has them in his home.