America’s Major League cities are dotted by classic stadiums with century-old charm (think Fenway and Wrigley) and lots of faux-retro parks meant to evoke the same feeling. But things could have been a lot different. During the heyday of domes and multipurpose venues, architects imagined some wild baseball parks that seemed futuristic at the time and kind of bonkers now.
While many stadium concepts don’t make it beyond the hope-and-dream phase, people at NeoMam Studios and Vivid Seats created these images to show us what seven of the most unique never-built baseball stadiums would look like in today’s city landscape.
Brooklyn Dome, Brooklyn Dodgers
The Dodgers fled to Los Angeles in part because the plans for the world’s first domed stadium never happened. Walter O’Malley proposed a lightweight aluminum structure to cover the stadium between Brooklyn’s Atlantic and Flatbush avenues in 1956. The city discarded the redevelopment of the land and the team relocated, leaving the Brooklyn Dome on the ash heap of history
Chicago Dome, Chicago White Sox
Famed skyscraper architects Skidmore, Owings & Merill offered up a 1985 proposal to build a 54,000-seat baseball stadium for the Chicago White Sox, which would lived next door to a 78,000-capacity football stadium for the Bears, with the two venues sharing a movable roof.
The idea never made it beyond the concept stage, unable to change the skyline of Chicago’s West Side. The Sox would move to new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field) in 1991; while the Bears remain at stalwart Soldier Field.
Denver Stadium, Colorado Rockies
In 1990, years before the Rockies began play in 1993 and moved into their current home of Coors Field in 1995, a concept surfaced to have the upcoming MLB team play in a new futuristic-looking retractable-roof stadium. With three spokes extending from the playing surface, Denver Stadium could house parking, conventions, and more.
Boston Dome, Boston Red Sox
The Boston Dome wanted to house it all: baseball, football, basketball, hockey, even dog racing. The proposed venue to be built along the Massachusetts Turnpike would have used 12 diamond-shaped roof panels to retract the top. The plan was billed as a solution to New England’s year-round, all-weather stadium—and as a way to keep the Red Sox from moving to sunny San Diego, a worry at the time. The proposal never made it out of the 1966 legislature, and in decades to come, people would come to treasure Fenway Park and all its… quirks.
Pontiac Dome, Detroit Tigers
The Pontiac Silverdome outside of Detroit housed the NFL’s Lions for years and lasted until it was demolished in 2017 (though it was a creepy ruin for a few of its final years). However, the original plan for the Featherstone Road site included a baseball stadium, too. With landscaping surrounding the dual-stadium location, plans also showed a rolling roof moving over both stadiums as needed. In the end the Lions got a fixed-roof dome, while the Tigers had to wait until 2000 for the beautiful Comerica Park to open downtown and replace old Tiger Stadium.
Rays Ballpark, Tampa Bay Rays
We’re not dipping too far back into history here. The concept comes from 2007 as a way to get the Rays out of their current shoddy ballpark. The new stadium would have included a sail-like retractable roof and an open side facing the water in St. Petersburg. The 34,000-seat proposal never gained the needed funding needed and the Rays, while still in Tampa, continue to struggle to find a suitable stadium situation.
Pittsburgh Stadium, Pittsburgh Pirates
A stadium over a river? This 1958 proposal asked for just that, a new home for the Pirates overtop the Monongahela River in downtown Pittsburgh. The plan envisioned a stadium with hotel towers to take up a widened space across the waterway. The concept survived for years, but was finally abandoned prior to the building of Three Rivers Stadium, the longtime home for the Steelers and Pirates that was imploded in 2001.