Balboa Stadium is located in San Diego, California and was built in 1914 as part of the many buildings erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition located in Balboa Park. Originally called City Stadium, and designed by the Quayle Brothers architectural firm, it is located to the East of San Diego High School. The Stadium was the home of the American Football League's San Diego Chargers' from 1961-66. The stadium originally had a seating capacity of approximately 15,000 and was expanded in 1961 to 34,000 to accommodate the Chargers when they moved from Los Angeles. The stadium was used for popular music concerts and other public gatherings though the 1970s.
Balboa Stadium witnessed the Chargers' glory years, which featured such players as John Hadl, Lance Alworth and Ernie Ladd, and hosted the 1961, 1963, and 1965 American Football League championship games, as well as the 1961, 1962, and 1963 AFL All-Star games. In their six seasons here, head coach Sid Gillman's club finished with a combined record of 28-12-2, winning four Western Division titles and one league crown. In 1967, the team left Balboa for new San Diego Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium) in Mission Valley, where the club's glory slowed and the titles stopped (although they did win several American Football Conference Western Division titles) until they won the AFC championship after the 1994 season.
On September 19, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson spoke in front of over 50,000 people in Balboa Stadium in support of the creation of the League of Nations. This was the first presidential speech to use an electronic voice amplification system. This system was invented by Edwin S. Pridham and Peter L. Jensen. They called their invention the "Magnavox" ("Great Voice") moving coil device. The two would go on to found the Magnavox company.
The Beatles, The Doors, Elton John, Chicago, Yes, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Ronstadt, Jethro Tull, Sly and the Family Stone, The Eagles and Neil Young have all performed at Balboa Stadium. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, and Satchel Paige played in this stadium
Today the stadium has been altered to have a much smaller seating capacity than at the time it housed the Chargers, and most of its distinguishing architectural features have been removed. The remaining seating is made up of simple concrete bleachers, which also form the walls of the canyon the field is built in.
The stadium is home to the San Diego Pumitas minor league soccer club of the National Premier Soccer League as well as being used by the San Diego High School for local high school sporting and other events. During the 1990s and the 2000s, it was also used as the home field (for football only) by St. Augustine High School. The stadium is owned by the City of San Diego and leased to the San Diego Unified School District, which is responsible for its maintenance.
An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune from November 27, 2006 highlighted the state of disrepair the stadium is in. The field is covered in artificial turf installed in 2001 that is torn and rippling, and the track surrounding the field has some dangerous depressions thought to be able to cause injury.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 WINNER VUKOVICH WAS LIKE NO OTHER TWO-TIME CHAMPION LEARNED TO RACE AT BONNELLI STADIUM IN SAUGUS
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