Rizal Memorial Stadium (located in Malate, Metro Manila, Philippines) was on the verge of being demolished back last year in December, led by gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. and also by the country’s former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada who has previously proposed to modernize the 82 year old complex and turn it into a damn shopping mall district… neglecting the stadium’s rich history that has been already part of the country for many years.
Thankfully not anymore, cause, in Baseball terms, the NHCP (National Historical Commission of the Philippines) stepped up to the plate in the 9th and gave the historic Rizal stadium a walk-off homerun to be remembered, as it just saved the complex from demolition, and attempts of improper renovation… declaring it as a “National Historic Landmark” in March 27 just this year.
The NHCP resolution was signed by its current Board Chairman Rene R. Escalante, and by 5 other members in Abraham P. Sakili, Victorino Mapa Manalo, Yolanda E. Jacinto, Jeremy Barns and Ludovico Badoy, it is the second declaration about the stadium’s cultural and historical importance to the country. Last year, the National Museum, which Jeremy Barns leads, already declared the sports complex an “Important cultural property”.
In its Resolution 5, Series of 2017, board members of NHCP underscored the lengthy period of contribution of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in the development of sports in the Philippines.
(A copy for the resolution can be seen here below, via NCCA National Committee on Monuments and Sites.)
Other than football and other outdoor sports, The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex was mostly well known for hosting some memorable Baseball games in the past.
The sport was the main event in the 1934 Far Eastern Games and, in that same year, the games were played at the same site where legendary players like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth hit the first and second home runs of the stadium’s history respectively in the first game of an exhibition series in Dec. 2, 1934, defeating the All-Filipinos team by a score of 5-0 in Game 1 of that day, and 18-6 in Game 2 in the next day… It was an International series that saw the participation of many well known players in that era, with Jimmy Foxx also in included in the list. Highlighting one of the best moments in stadium’s history.
Rizal Memorial Stadium is currently the oldest Southeast Asian multisport facility designed in the art decorated style built by Juan Arellano, and was formerly known as the “Manila Carnival Grounds” (built in 1927), but later changed it in year 1934 in honor our our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal (the well known author for El Filibusterismo and Noli me Tangere).
(View of the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium today.)
Baseball may be a minor sport in the Philippines, but it’s really filled with some very rich history regarding about the sport… and seeing Baseball to be played once here again at Rizal Stadium after all that certainly puts a tear on my eye… So, once again guys, let’s Play Ball!