Throwback Thursday: Before it Became 'The Joe,' it was Thomas Stadium
Before “The Joe”, Alabama baseball was played on Thomas Field which was in the same location as the current stadium out in front of Coleman Coliseum.
It was named for former Tide head football coach and athletic director Frank Thomas. It opened on March 26, 1948, and the original seating capacity was just 2,000.
Because there weren’t a lot of seats, fans could watch the games while standing by the fences around the field.
As for its evolution, in 1978 the stadium was renamed Sewell-Thomas Stadium, adding the name of former Crimson Tide baseball standout and head coach Joe Sewell, who spent 14 years with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees during his Hall of Fame baseball career.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1977. He is also a member of the College Baseball Foundation Hall of Fame and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Currently referred to by many as "The Joe", Sewell-Thomas Stadium has been the home of Alabama's baseball team for 64 years, but has undergone many changes including renovations in 1996 and 2001, with a video board being added in 2007.
In 2010, the Crimson Tide's clubhouse, meetings rooms, coaches locker rooms and team room were completely overhauled. In addition to the expanded clubhouse, meeting rooms and team rooms, the hallways and walls were lined with murals, depicting the deep history of Crimson Tide baseball.
Alabama spent the 2015 season away from Sewell-Thomas Stadium as the ballpark was taken down to its frame and completely rebuilt. The full renovation of The Joe created what is now a brand new stadium for the Crimson Tide baseball program.
In 1981, the old scoreboard was taken down and a new modern one replaced it so it would be visible during night games.
Also, in 1981, lights were added to the field for nighttime baseball. Here, the light standards and new scoreboard are being installed.
The first night game at Thomas Field was March 14, 1981. New lights but still not many seats for the fans.