For decades, Salem’s old Municipal Field (now Kiwanis Field) had been the home of various sports, including Salem’s minor league baseball teams. By 1993, though, the field was showing its age. Dreams of a new baseball stadium came up when the Salem Buccaneers, Salem’s minor league team at that time, began to explore selling the team to a community with more modern facilities.
City Council put the proposed new ballpark up for a vote. Salem’s residents responded with a vote of 82% in favor to 18% opposed: Salem was getting a new ballfield. After $10 million and a year of construction, Salem Memorial Ballpark opened to a sell-out crowd of spectators on Aug. 7, 1995.
Salem’s team, the Avalanche, christened the city’s $10 million stadium with a 3-2 win over the Frederick Keys. The baseball game, which lasted 15 dramatic innings, was won on a walk.
The Salem Museum tells the stories of all the minor league teams that have called Salem home. Among its collection are mementoes from the 1995 Avalanche: a pennant, baseball cards, and a baseball signed by all the players at that first game in the new ballpark. These items were recently generously donated by Kimberly Pitzer.