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Updated Mar 27, 2014 - 11:22 am

Oakland Athletics close out Phoenix Municipal Stadium

Phoenix Municipal Stadium may have hosted its last professional baseball game on Wednesday. (KTAR photo/Bob McClay)
PHOENIX -- When the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland A's 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon, nearly 50 years of professional baseball at Phoenix Municipal stadium came to an end.

The A's have been playing their Cactus League spring training games there since 1982. They will move to Hohokam Park in Mesa next year.

Phoenix Municipal Stadium opened in 1964 as the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants. It was also the regular-season home stadium for the Giants' Triple-A farm team, the Phoenix Giants.

Willie Mays was the first player to hit a home run there, and the light poles are from the Old Polo Grounds in New York, which was the home of the New York Giants before they moved to San Francisco.

Some fans say they'll miss the old ballpark.

"It's baseball like it was back when I was a kid," said Leon Smith of Avondale. "It's an old stadium. The new stadiums have all of the fancy stuff, but it's just not the same."

Patrick Larkin of Phoenix has some great memories of watching games at Phoenix Municipal, but he thinks it's time for the A's to leave.

"With all of the new ballparks they have now, this thing is definitely in the cellar," he said.

Both men say they'll be back to Phoenix Municipal next season to watch college baseball. The Arizona State Sun Devils will leave Packard Stadium in Tempe to start playing their home games at Phoenix Municipal next year.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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