Happy birthday, Victory Field.
The baseball stadium that we know and love opened 27 years ago today — on July 11, 1996. On opening day, the Indians fell short to the Oklahoma City 89ers, 5–3, in front of 14,667 fans.
The name “Victory Field” originated as a nod to the US’ involvement in World War II. The new ballpark took the name in April 1996, going back to the name that Bush Stadium had carried during + after the war, between 1942 and 1947.
Before Victory Field, the Indianapolis Indians played at Bush Stadium located on West 16th Street from 1930-1996. In 1992, Major League Baseball (MLB) determined the stadium didn’t meet the Minor League Baseball facility standards implemented in 1991.
Renovations of Bush Stadium were estimated at $12-14 million (equivalent to ~$23.2 million today), so there were negotiations for a new stadium. In the spring of 1994, officials announced plans for a new downtown stadium to be built just west of the Hoosier Dome, at 501 W. Maryland St., on land made available by White River State Park.
Wondering what happened to Bush Stadium? It still exists on the west side + you can even live at the historic site. The ballpark has since been transformed into an apartment complex called Stadium Lofts with the field in the courtyard.
Since Victory Field opened, it’s received national recognition as one of the best minor league ballparks in the country from Baseball America, Sports Illustrated, and Midwest Living.
The American Institute of Architects also deemed the ballpark to be among the most “architecturally significant” buildings completed in the city’s history since World War II — and with its iconic view of downtown, we believe it.
Want to get to know our local teams even more? Check out our ultimate guide to sports in Indy.