San Diego Stadium Is Facing The Wrecking Ball

The stadium is no longer needed.

There is a goodbye taking place in San Diego. Journalists took a farewell look at the soon to be razed San Diego Stadium which later was called Jack Murphy Stadium.  Jack Murphy, a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, suggested in December 1960 that the American Football League’s Los Angeles Chargers owner Barron Hilton should consider moving his franchise to San Diego. Hilton would move his team to San Diego on February 10th, 1961. Murphy pushed for a new stadium in the city as a newspaper columnist and in November 1965 San Diego residents voted to spend public money for a stadium that would not only house the AFL’s Chargers but also a Major League Baseball team. The first Chargers game in the new venue took place in August 1967. Murphy then turned his attention to lobby for a baseball team. The National League expanded by two teams in 1968 with San Diego getting one of the franchises. San Diego came close to losing the baseball team after the 1973 season as the franchise was sold to Washington, DC businessmen. That move was blocked as McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc agreed to buy the team and keep it in San Diego.

The stadium got a facelift in the late 1990s as the City of San Diego spent $78 million to upgrade the venue for Alex Spanos’ San Diego Chargers. The upgrade also landed San Diego a Super Bowl.  There was an unusual clause lease agreement. San Diego taxpayers were on the hook for to buy unsold Chargers tickets. In 1999, that charge exceeded $5 million for Chargers games. In 2000, Spanos wanted out of his lease commitment and began a stadium search. Spanos’ son, Dean, moved the team back to Los Angeles in 2017. The team left and the stadium is now being dismantled.

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)