Pro tip: This story is best read aloud to self in a sports broadcaster voice.
Thank you for tuning into this edition of SACtoday where we — City Editor Matt and City Editor Jordan — will be taking the field of Hughes Stadium to provide insider analysis on its enduring legacy, complete with historical play-by-plays and color commentary on some of its big-hitting moments since opening in 1928.
Great to be here today with you Matt, and what a stadium this is — historic, holds a ton of records, and knows how to switch up the game plan depending on the matchup — it’s going to be a great story today.
First things first, if you’re talking Hughes, you got to be talking baseball — which is a funny thing as it’s really a football and track and field stadium. That fact didn’t stop the Sacramento Solons baseball team from calling the stadium home during the 1974-76 seasons, and earning the title of most “dinger-tastic baseball team of all time.”
And, you know — we’ve talked about the Solons before — that was a group of guys who really only played here for a couple of years, but put up some big numbers during their short stay thanks to the field’s small size.
Part of Sacramento City College, Hughes has hosted an impressive number of teams and big-named football games, like the Camellia Bowl and Causeway Classic. The most surprising one? Hughes was home to the first Pig Bowl — a first-class game of tossing the pigskin between cops that still runs to this day.
And when we’re talking about big-time sports moments, who could forget The Night of Speed, am I right? June 1968, Jim Hines, Ronnie Ray Smith, and Charlie Greene all broke the 100-meter world record at the Amateur Athletic Union National Championships, running under 10-second times each. There may never be another night like that in the history of track and field, Matt.
Don’t worry this show isn’t over yet. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Hughes regularly hosted artists like the Eagles, Willie Nelson, and Rod Stewart. In 1981, more than 42,000 people packed into Hughes to watch the Doobie Brothers — a stadium that can now only fit 21,000 fans — and stands today as of the biggest events in Sacramento history.
Have a favorite moment we missed in our recap? Let us know.