Frontier Field opened for baseball on April 11, 1997, when the Red Wings played host to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (Phillies) before a crowd of 13,227. The downtown ballpark replaced Silver Stadium, which was home to Rochester's International League franchise for 68 years beginning in 1929. Frontier Field is the 7th ballpark to serve as the home of pro baseball in the Flower City.
Frontier Field was designed by the Kansas City-based architectural firm Ellerbe Becket. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 16, 1994, but actual construction didn't begin until July 1995 due to cuts in the state budget. Funds were eventually restored, and after a 5-month delay it took one year to build at a price of $33 million. There were 169,000 bricks used in the ballpark structure. Frontier, the primary telephone company in Rochester, bought the naming rights for $3.5 million over 20 years.
The first event at Frontier Field was a Beach Boys concert on July 12, 1996, when 12,982 music lovers poured into the brand-new ballpark. The first sporting event at Frontier took place the next night, when 14,717 soccer fans came to see the Rochester Raging Rhinos defeat the Montreal Impact 3-2. The first baseball game wouldn't be until the home opener of the 1997 season. The Red Wings lost 8-5 to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the inaugural game despite leading 5-0 through 6 innings.
Since its opening, Frontier Field has hosted two Governors' Cup Championship Series in 1997 and 2006. The Red Wings defeated the Columbus Clippers (Yankees) 3 games to 2 in the 1997 series, clinching at home for their 10th International League Governors' Cup title. The Wings then lost to the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) 3 games to 2 in the 2006 series.
Frontier Field hosted the 2000 Triple-A All-Star Game, an 8-2 win by the Pacific Coast League All-Stars over the IL All-Stars on July 12 before 12,810 fans and a nation-wide television audience on ESPN2. The Red Wings had three representatives at the hometown game: Javier De La Hoya, Karim Garcia, and Josh Towers.
Frontier Field in 2012 served as the home ballpark for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees while PNC Field in Moosic, Pensylvania underwent a season-long renovation. The Yankees played 38 regular-season home games at Frontier, as well as two post-season contests. The Yankees were originally scheduled to play 37 home games at Frontier Field, but added a game on May 6 when it was decided that New York Yankees left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte would be making a rehabilitation start. The game switched locations from Dwyer Stadium in nearby Batavia to Frontier Field in downtown Rochester. The game established a Frontier Field record for a regular-season baseball game with 13,584 in attendance.
LARGEST BASEBALL CROWDS:
1. July 10, 1997 (13,723) Exhibition game vs. Baltimore (Cal Ripken Jr.)
2. May 6, 2012 (13,584) SWB Yankees vs. Pawtucket (Andy Pettite)
3. June 30, 1997 (13,485) vs. Columbus (Hideki Irabu)
4. June 28, 1999 (13,307) Exhibition vs. Baltimore
5. April 11, 1997 (13,227) vs. SWB (First baseball game at Frontier Field)
6. April 9, 2005 (13,158) vs Syracuse (Home Opener)
7. September 5, 2009 (13,120) vs. SWB (Home Finale)
8. June 15, 2007 (13,114) vs. Louisville
9. September 2, 2016 (12,889) vs. Lehigh Valley (Home Finale)
10. June 18, 2004 (12,831) vs. Columbus
11. July 12, 2000 (12,810) Triple-A All-Star Game