The Triple-A game that was played on concrete

Portland Beavers outfielders didn’t want to dive on opening day in 1969.

The Beavers, then the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, played at Civic Stadium in downtown Portland, Ore. Their ballpark gained national headlines that winter from a significant field announcement.

“The city council yesterday voted unanimously to carpet Portland’s city-owned Civic Stadium with artificial turf,” the Arizona Republic reported. “Councilmen said they hoped the turf would be ready for the opening of the baseball season this spring.”

It wasn’t ready.

Portland’s first home game was scheduled for April 11, but the turf positioning took longer than expected, and opening day got moved back a few weeks. The second attempt at opening day arrived with most of the turf laid down, but left field was still uncovered. Fearful at the embarrassment another opening day postponement would cause, management decided the game must happen, even though left field was cement.

The grounds crew painted left field green, hoping it would blend in with the rest of the turf. But left field’s true material was obvious when bloopers landed, bounced extra high, then came down with green paint stains.

Nobody was hurt on opening day, and the rest of the turf was installed before the second game of the series, according to former Portland executive Jack Cain. That year the Beavers became the first professional baseball team to play a season on an entirely synthetic outdoor surface. It saved on field maintenance costs and limited the number of rainouts.

Tim Hagerty is the broadcaster for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, and is on Twitter at @MinorsTeamNames. He is also the author of “Root for the Home Team: Minor League Baseball’s Most Off-the-Wall Team Names.”