Safeco Field: An Iconic Landmark and a Seattle Must-See

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With Major League Baseball underway, we want to highlight a particular MLB stadium dear to our hearts: Seattle’s Safeco Field. Home to the Seattle Mariners (#TrueToTheBlue!) for nearly 20 years, the field has a rich history. Read on to learn about Safeco Field’s iconic past — and how you can experience it today.

The House That Griffey Built

On March 8, 1997, Seattle Mariners superstar Ken Griffey, Jr., helped break ground on the Safeco Field building site. Located in Seattle’s “SoDo” (South of Downtown) neighborhood, the field took five years to plan and construct. At capacity, the stadium holds nearly 48,000 attendees for baseball games, and even more for some other events.

Popular support for building the new field, to replace the Kingdome built in 1976, has been attributed to Edgar Martinez’s show-stopping double that clinched the 1995 American League Division Series against the New York Yankees. The postseason victory rallied support for the Mariners and quashed rumors that the team would relocate to another city.

Iconic Design For a Historic City

Safeco Field is known for its remarkable features, like the only “umbrella”-style retractable roof, which leaves the sides open to the weather, in Major League Baseball. International architecture firm NBBJ was responsible for Safeco Field’s iconic design.

NBBJ also designed other remarkable Seattle landmarks, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters, United States Federal Courthouse and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, plus the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

An Action-Packed Opening Day

Game One at Safeco Field cracked off on July 15, 1999, with the Seattle Mariners facing the San Diego Padres. Forty-seven thousand fans packed the stadium, which held 47,116 at capacity, to watch the inaugural game. The Mariners lost 3-2 to the Padres, but the game kicked off long-lasting enthusiasm for the team and the field. Today, the field can hold up to 47,943 cheering fans!

The Voice of an Era

Safeco Field was home to iconic sportscaster Dave Niehaus, considered one of the finest by many baseball fans. His familiar catchphrases and player nicknames live on today — he coined the nickname “A-Rod” for legendary Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez, who started his career in Seattle. An interactive statue of Niehaus can be found in Safeco Field’s section 105.

More Than a Field

Safeco Field hosts more than just Mariners baseball games. Since its opening, the stadium has been home to events such as Women’s Gold Cup Soccer, local high school graduations, weddings and big-name concerts. In 2008, The Beach Boys even performed one of their charity concerts at Safeco Field.

The largest crowd ever at Safeco Field was in 2003 for WrestleMania XIX. This record-breaking crowd of 54,097 filled the stadium to watch Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H battle it out in the ring.

What You Can Experience Today

Aside from watching the Seattle Mariners, you can experience a grand slam of sightseeing and activities at Safeco Field. Take a Safeco Field tour to see and learn about areas of the stadium not usually open to the public, such as the press box, private suites and dugouts.