Marking 25th anniversary, Camden Yards has withstood the test of time

On April 6, 1992, Orioles pitcher Rick Sutcliffe threw the first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards - on a day when the ballpark started a revolution, pushing baseball away from the two-sport, all-turf, cookie-cutter stadiums of the 1980s.

The magic of Camden Yards - some call it Oriole Park - is that it made new feel old on Day One.

The ballpark, celebrating 25 years this season, was built in a downtown spot that was a decaying railroad center. It has a classic brick fa├žade with exposed steel beams. Thousands of dark green seats rise above neatly trimmed green grass, making fans feel as if they are going back in time.

The late Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher and Orioles public address announcer Rex Barney was nostalgic about Camden Yards. He said many times that when he looked out to the right field scoreboard, he saw Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field.

The ballpark’s iconic symbol is the B&O Warehouse, a building that was nearly torn down before it was incorporated into the design. The 120-foot tall Warehouse, which is 1,106 feet long and wraps around right field, provides a unique intimacy.

As new ballpark construction exploded across baseball, it’s fair to say other teams have borrowed ideas from Camden Yards, looking for old-time atmosphere and views unique to their cities.

The city of Denver renovated a warehouse district and a built a ballpark with views of the Rocky Mountains. The Pirates’ PNC Park has a breathtaking view of the rivers, bridges and downtown Pittsburgh. Fans at Busch Stadium in St. Louis can look to centerfield and see the Gateway Arch.

Twenty-five years ago, in the first opener at Camden Yards, Sutcliffe, even though he was ill, pitched a 2-0 win against Cleveland, the first of many historic games at Camden Yards.

Camden Yards has hosted four postseasons, including three American League Championship Series. The closest Camden Yards has come to hosting a World Series was in 1997, the year Cleveland beat the Orioles 1-0 in 11 innings in Game 6 of the ALCS.

The 1993 All-Star Game -- with Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Al Kaline, a Baltimore native, throwing out the first pitches -- was played there, with the AL winning 9-3, getting home runs from Roberto Alomar and Kirby Puckett.

On Sept. 6, 1995, Orioles legend Cal Ripken did a lap around the field after playing in his record 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the record held by Lou Gehrig. Gehrig’s Yankees teammate, Joe DiMaggio, was on hand to watch.

One year later, the Orioles’ Eddie Murray hit career home run No. 500.

On Sept. 20, 1998, Ripken sat out the final home game of the season, ending his streak at 2,632 games.

In 1999, the Cuban National Team beat the Orioles 12-6 at Camden Yards.

On Sept. 28, 2011, Robert Andino’s game-ending single gave the Orioles a 4-3 win against Boston, knocking the Red Sox from the postseason.

Three years later, on Sept. 17, the Orioles clinched the American League East with a 8-2 win against Toronto as orange fireworks exploded and confetti rained down.

The most bizarre game in Camden Yards history was won 8-2 against the White Sox on April 29, 2015.

But the ballpark was empty, so empty the phone in the bullpen could be heard ringing by reporters in the press box.

That’s because fans weren’t allowed to attend for security reasons after civil unrest in the city.

Where will the ballpark be 75 years from now?

Boston’s Fenway Park is 105 years old. Chicago’s Wrigley Field is 103.

Looks like Oriole Park at Camden Yards is on its way to joining a classic bunch.