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Longtime Home of Rochester Red Wings Closes Gates

September 11, 1996

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Rochester Red Wings fans heard the last crack of the bat at Silver Stadium Tuesday night as the oldest park in Triple-A baseball closed its gates for the final time.

The milestone closing of the 67-year-old park came without much fanfare, as the Red Wings held their official closing ceremonies at the last home game of the regular season. Next season, the team moves into the $33 million Frontier Field in downtown Rochester.

But there was still a lot of emotion in the old concrete-and-steel stadium, as old fans and players watched the Red Wings play the Columbus Clippers in Game Two of the International League’s Governors’ Cup Finals.

``Baseball is a bunch of memories and some of my happiest memories in baseball are right here,″ said former manager and player Joe Altobelli, whose No. 26 will hang on the new Frontier Field wall.

Altobelli played in the mid 1960s, along with the likes of slugging first baseman Luke Easter. Altobelli later won two league championships as Red Wings manager and manager of the year honors with the Red Wings’ parent team, the Baltimore Orioles, which he led to a World Series title in 1983. Altobelli also managed the San Francisco Giants.

``My first year here, I got hurt and Luke Easter took my place. He hadn’t played in a month, but he hit two home runs that day,″ Altobelli said.

Silver Stadium was built for a grand sum of $415,000 back in 1929 for the Red Wings, then under the auspices of the St. Louis Cardinals. The team played its first game before a crowd of 14,885.

The Red Wings won at least four pennants as the St. Louis farm team before the Cardinals threatened to sell the then-known Red Wings stadium and move the team to another city. Rochester businessman Morrie Silver organized a stock drive where 8,222 local residents took part in to keep the Red Wings name in Rochester.

The stadium was renamed in his honor in 1968.

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