$5 will buy final peek inside Memorial Stadium; After tour, historic facility will be readied for razing


For a modest price, the public may take one last look inside Memorial Stadium this month, before the brick structure on 33rd Street is readied for demolition.

Public tours will be offered May 21 for $5 (free for kids 5 and younger), giving fans a chance to relive memorable games played inside the stadium, which dominates the landscape in its North Baltimore neighborhood.

The familiar steel lettering honoring veterans on the front will be warehoused in the Babe Ruth Museum near Camden Yards until city officials decide what to do with it, Maryland Stadium Authority officials said yesterday.

During the tours, the 1970 Orioles World Series trophy will be on display, as will the 1971 Super Bowl trophy won by the Baltimore Colts.

For sports buffs, "it's a chance to take pictures of trophies and the locker rooms," said Willard Mangrum, MSA project manager.

Mangrum said that only six metal lockers from the Colts days remain. The old Orioles locker room, with wood lockers, is intact, he said.

The stadium is scheduled to be demolished by summer 2001 at a cost of nearly $10 million in state funds, officials said. The method -- whether brick-by-brick or by dynamite implosion -- has not been decided, they said.

Edward C. Cline, the MSA deputy director, said, "It's not so clear which would be faster, implosion or the wrecking ball," because while implosion might seem speedier, debris hauling could take longer.

Sentimental sightseers can venture onto the field and view most of the memorabilia, which will be sold at auction in August, such as the stadium seats, which are likely to be sold in pairs.

No memorabilia will be sold May 21.

"We'll be selling merchandise, not memorabilia," said Laurie Ward, public relations coordinator for the Babe Ruth Museum, which is sponsoring the tours.

The Baltimore firm of Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani is preparing plans for the demolition, for which the stadium authority will take bids this year.

Wrecking Corp. of Alexandria, Va., will salvage memorabilia, MSA officials said, at a cost of $567,000.

Abating and removing environmentally hazardous material in the stadium, such as asbestos and lead, will be done by Baltimore's Environmental and Demolition Services at a cost of $68,000, MSA officials said.

Correspondence concerning the stadium's demise has arrived from over the world, including from an Air Force colonel in Kuwait who requested a donation of 300 stadium seats for an amphitheater.

"The theater seats would enhance the quality of life in our austere desert location," a letter from Col. Marvin T. Hershey said.

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