In April 1992, Camden Yards opened it’s doors as a brand new $100 million facility that was designed under the architectural guidance of HOK Sport and constructed by Danobe Construction. Located just two blocks from Babe Ruth’s birthplace in downtown Baltimore, the centerfield at this 85-acre facility is also the site at which Ruth’s father once operated Ruth’s Café. In the beginning, there was some debate over the name to be given to the new ballpark. Some felt that it should be named Oriole Park after it’s tenants, the Baltimore Orioles, but others were set on calling it Camden Yards. In a pleasing compromise, the park was ultimately named Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Just like every other ballpark in Major League Baseball, a number of memorable events have been hosted at Camden Yards. Among them, the 1993 All-Star game was held here. In September 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. awed fans by competing in his 2,131st consecutive game and, ultimately, breaking the record set by Lou Gehrig. The following year, in 1996, Eddie Murray hit his 500th career homerun. In addition, the only no-hitter ever pitched at this ballpark was thrown by Hideo Nomo in 2001.
Spectators who visit Camden Yards will be greeted with a variety of amenities, including the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame memorabilia, the Camden Club and sports bar, a cafeteria and gift shop. Additionally, fans can enjoy a stroll on Eutaw Street, which houses cement imprinted bronze baseballs that are designed to commemorate homeruns that have been hit at the facility. The design is Camden Yards is in amenity in itself as it has revolutionized the way that new facilities are constructed. A combination of steel columns, beams and trusses have made it a classic, while it’s 48,000 spectator capacity have made it accessible. Although it’s concrete trusses, a brick facade, natural grass playing surface and an asymmetrical playing field have served as inspiration to modern facilities being built, Oriole Park at Camden Yards itself was influenced by other ballparks, including Fenway Park, Ebbets, Forbes and Wrigley Field.
Baltimore Orioles fans can also participate in regular tours at Camden Yards, which includes a closeup look at the suites, scoreboards and control rooms, press levels and the dugout. Public tours are given daily with private tours available upon reservation. For those who desire an even closer look, perhaps a meeting with one or more of the Baltimore Orioles players or coaches would fit the bill. Time permitting, baseball notables may sometimes be found signing autographs up until 45 minutes prior to the opening pitch.
Collectors who wish to request an autograph from any one of the players on the Baltimore Orioles roster should send their letter and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to:
c/o Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park At Camden Yards
333 W. Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Fans requesting an autograph should limit their request to two items per letter. Popular items to have signed include photos, index or trading cards, baseballs, etc. Patience is key when requesting autographs through the mail, but the best time to reach an athlete is often during the off-season.