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Astrodome Renovation 1988-1989

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  • Astrodome Renovation 1988-1989

    I really have enjoyed reading the Yankee Stadium Renovation thread and it got me wondering about a new one.

    The Astrodome underwent a massive renovation project in late 1988 and was complete at the end of summer, 1989. It involved building four exterior ramp towers, 10,000 new seats, a new scoreboard system and 66 additional Luxury Suites.

    I have some very detailed files on baseball in Houston and its ballparks but I would like to know more about this renovation.

    This the project that removed the 474-foot scoreboard and five-story private right field apartment that team owner Roy Hofheinz lived in for a few years.

    This project was mainly done to accommodate the Houston Oilers, who wound up moving anyway from Houston (although to this day their team owner still has financial operations in Houston).

    Does anyone here on this board no of anyone who might have been involved with this project or have photos of the construction?

    Thanks in advance for any input!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    I have read some stuff online about how pissed astro fans were when they had to take out the old scoreboard for a team that didn't even stay in the city. I get the impression that from day one all the oliers did was bitch about how the dome wasn't good enough for them. I also get the impression that all houston did was bend over backwords for them, and yet they again were never happy, once they got the new seats they thought it was too old and wanted brand new.

    Is that true, where they really that bad about it?

    Also the stadium looks too overwelming, it lost it intamacy for baseball, although it does look great for football. I wouldn't want to play baseball in a stadium that was so big that when we got 20,000 fans it didn't even look half full!
    Last edited by Chevy114; 03-14-2008, 06:42 AM.
    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

    Comment


    • #3
      I also seem to recall that the Astros at some point (late 90's I think, after the Oilers left) modified the walls at the Dome and had high scoreboards in LF and RF... Green fences, etc...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
        I have read some stuff online about how pissed astro fans were when they had to take out the old scoreboard for a team that didn't even stay in the city. I get the impression that from day one all the oliers did was bitch about how the dome wasn't good enough for them. I also get the impression that all houston did was bend over backwords for them, and yet they again were never happy, once they got the new seats they thought it was too old and wanted brand new.

        Is that true, where they really that bad about it?

        Also the stadium looks too overwelming, it lost it intamacy for baseball, although it does look great for football. I wouldn't want to play baseball in a stadium that was so big that when we got 20,000 fans it didn't even look half full!
        The Oilers were supposed to have moved into the Dome in 1965 (the year it opened) but Bud Adams, owner of the Oilers, and Roy Hofheinz, primary owner of the Astros, couldn't reach a lease agreement. Adams said if the Astrodome was the Eighth Wonder of the World then the lease terms were the "Ninth Wonder". Bud Adams also felt he should've gotten a better deal since he was one of the original stockholders in the Astros and a huge supporter of the Astrodome being built. The Oilers wound up signing an agreement to play at Rice Stadium and moved from Jeppeson Stadium on the University of Houston campus. They eventually moved to the Astrodome in 1968.

        The Oilers enjoyed good crowds for a long while until the 1980's arrived and they were losing in a big way. In the midst of a losing decade, the Oilers demanded 10,000 new seats for the Astrodome and a new lease agreement. People in Houston countered with the idea that the Oilers couldn't even sellout the exisiting capacity. It made no sense to add more seats and further more, remove the beloved scoreboard that had become a landmark within a landmark. In 1987 Adams pulled a fast one on his home town by negotiating a deal with the Florida Governor that would send the Oilers to a new home. Harris County and the Astros gave in and 10,000 new seats went in during the fall 1988-summer 1989 renovation. The renovation was touted as in support of bringing another Super Bowl to Houston.

        The Oilers signed a 10 year lease and by the early 1990s the Oilers were winning again with their Run-and-Shoot offense. Crowds filled the Astrodome again but by 1994 Bud Adams was talking about building a new domed stadium in downtown. His demands were balked at being the Astrodome was expanded mainly for his benefit. He lost public support and wound up moving his team after the 1996 season. It was a very heated topic in Houston.

        The Astrodome originally held 45,000 seats for baseball and could go past 50,000 with standing room only tickets. The stadium was actually very nice for baseball and the seating arrangement provided good sightlines. After the renovation the Dome could sit almost 55,000 for baseball.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow. That is such a crazy story! I feel bad that they had to "deface" a legendary ballpark just to keep a childish owner happy. I am not sure how those kind of politics work, but I would have let the team go, we saw how easy it was for houston to get another team. They are the fourth largest city in america, the nfl has to capitalize on that. Then again look at la.

          So my question is, if they didn't add the new seats would the astros still be playing in the astrodome?
          The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tfc3rid View Post
            I also seem to recall that the Astros at some point (late 90's I think, after the Oilers left) modified the walls at the Dome and had high scoreboards in LF and RF... Green fences, etc...
            Yes they did. Manually operated scoreboards were installed into the outfield walls in left and right fields. These boards were 16 feet high in comparison to the 10 foot wall that stretch across the left side power alley to centerfield and back around the right side power alley. They were blue and white originally but were painted a forest green by 1995. The Field Level concourse walls, the front row facades of the seating levels, tops of the dugouts and structural columns also went this route. Real flowers were installed along the tops outfield walls and a fountain was added at the end of the Field Box seats on either side. I thought it was funny adding real flowers atop the wall. They looked nice for a while but didn't get enough direct sun. They were replaced by plastic flowers that reflected an Astros theme. The fountains were removed after 1995 as "Lefty's Pub" opened behind the left field corner and "Coca-Cola Corner" opened down the right field line. The walls in front of these new areas were dropped to seven feet.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
              Wow. That is such a crazy story! I feel bad that they had to "deface" a legendary ballpark just to keep a childish owner happy. I am not sure how those kind of politics work, but I would have let the team go, we saw how easy it was for houston to get another team. They are the fourth largest city in america, the nfl has to capitalize on that. Then again look at la.

              So my question is, if they didn't add the new seats would the astros still be playing in the astrodome?
              Maybe. I think it would've been more feasible to make more changes to the interior and keep it baseball friendly. The big scoreboard would've had to have been replaced sometime down the line because of the outdated technology. They probably would have made changes that would have kept the look of the scoreboard that everyone was used to. However, Drayton McLane bought the Astros in 1992. He did bring a lot of positive changes to the appearance of the Astrodome and continuously kept it as a very nice ballpark. However, I think he determined that the best option for the franchise was to get baseball in Houston back to its roots and be able to play on grass and outdoors. Oh yeah, more money could be made at a new place too. Minute Maid Park has the roof, has the large scoreboard (they even brought back the old home run spectacular from the Astrodome), the clubs and restaurants but now we can pop the top.

              Houston still has a very big attachment to the Astrodome because it is considered a landmark. The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is currently using it as its "Hideout" where the entire floor of the Dome in converted into one large bar room with a concert stage in centerfield. I was there two nights ago and people still walk in and are amazed to look up at the massive roof.
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • #8
                I liked the way the original astrodome scoreboard seemed hidden until the animations started up! My uncle lives in houston and always tells me they debate about who should pay for the upkeep since its such a marvel but is so old. Isn't the new scoreboard at minute maid just as big as the one in the astrodome?
                The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
                  I liked the way the original astrodome scoreboard seemed hidden until the animations started up! My uncle lives in houston and always tells me they debate about who should pay for the upkeep since its such a marvel but is so old. Isn't the new scoreboard at minute maid just as big as the one in the astrodome?
                  The county still owns the Astrodome so they maintain it although they do not maintain it like the Astros did when they played there. It needs a power wash and paint job around the outside.

                  The scoreboard at Minute Maid is about half the size of the old Astrodome scoreboard. They are similar height-wise but the Dome board was 474-feet long.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When did they demolish the adjacent AstroHall? I was looking at aerial photos of Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome, and noticed the Hall was no longer part of the "Astrodomain", as they used to call it. I'm just curious when it disappeared...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HollandsComet View Post
                      When did they demolish the adjacent AstroHall? I was looking at aerial photos of Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome, and noticed the Hall was no longer part of the "Astrodomain", as they used to call it. I'm just curious when it disappeared...
                      Astrohall was replaced by Reliant Center, which is easily twice as big. It sits on the north side of the Astrodome in what used to be a parking lot for the Dome. It sits on the edge of the land that was once used for Colt Stadium. Astrohall was demolished in 2002 and new parking was placed there to service Reliant Stadium.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What a marvelous facility. I thought it looked better before its seating capacity was enlarged though.
                        The Ultimate Baseball Look

                        Modern Synthetic Baseball Fields

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                        • #13
                          Did they add luxury boxes along the outfield/end zone in the renovations? I see windows and can't tell if that boxes or something else.
                          The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Farewell To An Odd Dome Home
                            Judge Hofheinz's private Astrodome quarters will soon be just a gaudy memory
                            http://www.si.com/vault/article/maga...7102/index.htm
                            The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blue387 View Post
                              Farewell To An Odd Dome Home
                              Judge Hofheinz's private Astrodome quarters will soon be just a gaudy memory
                              http://www.si.com/vault/article/maga...7102/index.htm
                              The Judge was one in a million. If he were alive and able to campaign the referendum would've passed

                              Comment

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