"20 Ravens Relics In 20 Years" is a series celebrating the team's 20th anniversary that will tell the story behind 20 key objects in franchise history. The stories and photos of the relics will be unveiled before each 2015 game. Fans can view all of the items featured in our Ravens Relics series on permanent display at the Sports Legends Museum and in an interactive display on Ravens Walk before every home game.
For more than 40 years, Baltimore sports called Memorial Stadium home.
Nicknamed the "largest outdoor insane asylum," Memorial Stadium was built in 1954 and was the home to the Colts and Orioles. The stadium played host to some of the greatest moments in Baltimore sports history, but then the Colts took off for Indianapolis in 1984 and the Orioles moved across town to Camden Yards in 1992.
That largely left Memorial Stadium empty – until the NFL returned to Baltimore in 1996 and the new franchise needed a place to play. The Ravens moved into Memorial Stadium for their first two seasons to allow their new stadium to get built, and that time gave Baltimore fans a final hoorah at their old stomping grounds.
The last game at Memorial Stadium was an afternoon contest against the Tennessee Oilers on Dec. 14, 1997. The Oilers came to town with budding young stars in quarterback Steve McNair and running back Eddie George.
"We all knew this was it," said Mike Gibbons, executive director of the Sports Legends Museum. "People loved Memorial Stadium, even though it was weird and by the end of the season there was no grass on the field."
The stadium had etched its place in Baltimore sports history, but by the time the Ravens played that mid-December game against Tennessee, many fans were ready to move to the shiny new confines at Ravens Stadium the next year.
"I remember being said that we were saying goodbye to Memorial Stadium, but glad to get out of there because it was dirty and crumbling," Gibbons said.
The Ravens closed the old park in fitting fashion.
McNair threw for 219 yards and ran for a pair of touchdowns, but he was outdone by Baltimore quarterback Eric Zeier. He threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Jackson, Eric Green and Derick Alexander all caught touchdowns for the Ravens.
Baltimore won the game 21-19. The next year they moved into newly build Ravens Stadium – now named M&T Bank Stadium – where they have been ever since.
Memorial Stadium was demolished in 2002.