Timeline

1915-1917    The longest game in the history of the Southern Association went 23 innings and ended in a 2-2 tie when the Lookouts hosted the Atlanta Crackers at Engel Stadium. Umpire "Steamboat" Johnson called the game on account of darkness.
 
Jun 13, 1919    Norman Arthur "Kid" Elberfeld managed the Chattanooga Lookouts after many years in the Major Leagues. Elberfeld was given the nickname "The Tabasco Kid" because of his fiery temper. Elberfeld was known for his ferocious verbal and sometimes physical assaults on umpires.
 
1926    18 year old Satchel Paige made his professional debut at Andrews Field, future site of Engel Stadium, playing for the Negro League team, the Chattanooga White Sox. In April shortly after his arrival Paige recorded nine strikeouts over six innings against the Atlanta Black Crackers.
 
1929    Joe Engel comes to Chattanooga with cash in hand from Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith to buy the Lookouts from Sammy Strang Nicklin and replace Andrews Field with a 12,000 seat, $150,000 modern ballpark.
 
1930    As the stadium is nearing completion, Joe Engel opens his doors and feeds 11,000 Chattanoogans affected by the Great Depression.
 
Mar 23, 1930    Lookouts play the parent club Washington Senators in the first ever exhibition game at Engel Stadium; 2,500 people attended.
 
Apr 10, 1930    The Lookouts play an exhibition game against Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the rest of the New York Yankees.
 
April 15, 1930    The Lookouts opened the regular season against the Atlanta Crackers as 16,000 excited fans witnessed the first official game in one of the grand baseball parks in the nation. The Lookouts rallied with three in the home half of the ninth to beat the Crackers, 6-5.
 
1931    Joe Engel sells shortstop Johnny Jones for a 25-pound turkey, saying, "The turkey was having a better year." A turkey sandwich named for Jones was sold at the stadium for years following.
 
Apr 2, 1931    Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year old girl, made national headlines by striking out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig before walking Tony Lazzeri in an exhibition against the New York Yankees at Engel Stadium.
 
1932    As the Southern Association champion, the Lookouts won the Dixie Series Championship over Beaumont of the Texas league with a 7-3 decision. It was Chattanooga’s only appearance in this classic, giving them a perfect 1-1 championship record.
 
1935    Lights are installed at Engel Stadium.
 
May 2, 1936    26,639 fans, the largest in Engel Stadium history, cram into the stadium for a chance to win a house. Engel froze the baseballs so fans along the outfield wall would not be hit.
 
Sep 5, 1937    Griffith puts the Lookouts up for sale for $125,000. Determined to keep the team in Chattanooga, Engel stood on downtown street corners asking passersby, "Wanna buy a ball club?" 1,532 Chattanoogans said yes, purchasing shares for $5 each. With support from the local community, Engel was able to buy the club from Griffith for $100,000.
 
1938    Fans fill Engel Stadium on Opening Day to see Joe Engel’s "Wild Elephant Hunt." It was such a success that Engel decided to take it to ballparks throughout the South.
 
1938    Roger Hornsby leaves the Baltimore Orioles to sign on with the Lookouts as a player/manager for one season.
 
1939    The Lookouts won the Southern League championship over Memphis by two percentage points under then manager Hazen Shirley "Ki Ki" Cuyler.
 
Sep 1941    Hillis Layne was signed by Joe Engel to play for the Washington Senators. He also played for the Lookouts under his contract.
 
1941    The Lookouts are once again owned by Griffith’s Senators, with Engel retained as President.
 
1941    Class C Selma’s manager was furious when Engel called up Hillis Layne. So, Engel sent a truck full of ice to be delivered straight to the Selma manager’s office, saying he needed to "cool down."
 
1947    16-year old Willie Mays made his professional baseball debut as a center fielder for the Chattanooga Choo-Choos in the Negro Southern League.
 
1951    Don Grate came into the batting lineup for an injured outfielder and hit two inside-the-park homeruns, after which he was never taken out of the lineup.
 
Aug 9, 1952    Star player Roy Hawes gets married in the afternoon, and then hits the game winning home run for the Lookouts. Following the blast Hawes went to the stands and kissed his bride.
 
Sep 1952    First-year manager Calvin Coolidge Ermer and the Lookouts clinched the Southern Association Championship by approximately three percent in the standings over the Atlanta Crackers two days before the end of the season, beating Little Rock 8-4.
 
1953    From March 15th to April 14th, 283,000 people came to Engel Stadium to attend the Billy Graham Crusade.
 
Aug 23, 1953    Engel offers Don Grate $200 to break the world record for longest throw of a baseball. Grate threw it 443 1/3 feet to break the record.
 
Mar 1955    The booklet "Your Lookouts Since 1885" by Wirt Gammon is published by Chattanooga Publishing Company’s Commercial Printing Department.
 
1957    Harmon Killebrew becomes the first and only player to ever hit a home run to the deepest part of center field which was 471 feet from home plate.
 
1959    Roy Hawes finishes his 6-year career with the Lookouts, recording a career-best batting average at .299 with 16 homeruns in 141 games at the age of 32.
 
Jul 31, 1959    First baseman Jesse Levan is banned from baseball for acting as a liaison for betting interests.
 
Sep 12, 1959    The Lookouts and Engel Stadium are once again put up for sale by the Washington Senators.
 
Dec 1959    The Lookouts Booster Club headed by Joe Engel, Mayor P.R. Olgiati, and Judge Wilkes T. Thrasher raise enough money to buy the Lookouts and gain release from Washington.
 
1961    For the first time in its history the Lookouts are no longer affiliates of the Washington Senators. They won the Southern Association pennant as an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies; only 233 fans witness the victory.
 
1962    The Southern Association disbands and Philadelphia pulls its affiliation leaving Chattanooga without a team for the first time in over fifty years.
 
1963    In a desperate attempt Joe Engel manages to bring the Phillies back as a Major League affiliate, but this time the Lookouts are competing in the Class-A Sally League.
 
1965    "Save the Lookouts Night" was held on the final day of the season in front of only 355 fans. The Phillies quickly pulled their affiliation, and Chattanooga would not see baseball again for eleven years.
 
Jun 12, 1969    The namesake of Engel Stadium, William Joseph Engel, 76, dies at Campbell General Hospital. The flagpole in center field flew at half-staff the whole week.
 
Apr 20, 1976    8,305 fans attend home opener as baseball returns to Engel after a decade’s absence.
 
Sep 1, 1981    A huge crowd sits in rain for three hours to eat hot dogs on "Free Hot Dog Night." The game, however, would be rained out.
 
Jul 23, 1984    A rare triple-header played against Jacksonville after an entire four-game series was flooded out from May 7th to May 10th.
 
Sep 12, 1988    Lookouts win their only pennant of the modern era in a three game sweep over Greenville. It would be the last game before the renovation.
 
Apr 12, 1989    Opening Day featured the rededication of "Historic" Engel Stadium after a $2 million dollar renovation. The entry way was completely refurbished, a two-story front office building was built on the 1st baseline, and a restaurant was built in the concourse.
 
Jul 11, 1990    Southern League All-Star Game is held at Engel, players included: Frank Thomas, Kent Bottenfield, Luis Gonzalez, and Brian Hunter.
 
Apr 16, 1994    A modern era record crowd of 14,137 turn out to see Birmingham Barons outfielder Michael Jordan; he did not play in the game. The turnout broke the previous modern day record set just the night before when Jordan played before a crowd of 13,416.
 
1995    Frank Burke, a young man from Maine, purchases the Lookouts.
 
Sep 2, 1995    Memphis pitcher Robbie Beckett no-hits the Lookouts in the second game of a double header, however Memphis still loses 1-0.
 
Feb 4, 1999    Ticket drive ends; assuring construction of new stadium on Hawk Hill.
 
Sep 10, 1999    Lookouts play final game at Engel Stadium.
 
2000    The city and county lease the stadium to Tennessee Temple University baseball team. Temple agrees to maintain the facility.
 
2004    Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga agree to give ownership of the stadium and parking area to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
 
Apr 2005    Two books about the history of the Chattanooga Lookouts and Engel Stadium were published. These were the first written histories to be released about the team and stadium since Wirt Gammon’s booklet in 1955.
 
2006    Historic preservation nonprofit Cornerstones invests $40,000 to repair the stadium roof; the city and county each agree to invest $10,000 annually for the next three years for roof maintenance.
 
2009    Cornerstones hires a local architect and engineer to conduct an Existing Conditions Survey. The study showed that the stadium was in "stable and fair condition with minor deterioration issues."
 
Apr 2009    The Engel Foundation receives its charter from the State of Tennessee with a mission to restore, preserve, promote, and revitalize Engel Stadium.
 
Oct 30, 2009    Cornerstones and The Engel Foundation team up to host a Great Spaces Open House at Engel Stadium. Over 100 people attend, including Mayor Ron Littlefield and former Lookouts player Roy Hawes.
 
Oct 31, 2009    The Engel Foundation hosts the first annual Legends of the Game baseball camp for area youth. Former major leaguers Willie Wilson, Jay Johnstone, Steve Trout and Rick Honeycutt serve as coaches.
 
Dec 2009    Engel Stadium is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Mar 2011    Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga padlock the stadium due to safety concerns arising from rotten boards in the roof.
 
Aug 2011    UTC takes ownership of the stadium and surrounding land from the City, County, and Norfolk Southern Railroad.
 
Nov 2011    Engel Foundation along with partners UTC and Cornerstones receive a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to conduct a planning process that will determine the future use of Engel stadium.
 
Jan 2012    Warner Bros location scout Eric Pastore contacts the Engel Foundation to determine Engel’s availability as the site for a major motion picture. Pastore wrote the book 500 Ballparks of America, in which Engel is featured.
 
Mar 8, 2012    Engel Foundation signs an agreement to lease the stadium from UTC and an agreement with Legendary Films to use Engel as the location for making "42," a film about Jackie Robinson. Engel will become Ebbets Field, which was once home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Repair work at the stadium begins immediately with the demolition of the administration building, dugouts and pony wall.
 
May 10, 2012    Repairs to the roof, plumbing and electrical system are complete; the field angle, dugouts, lower seating and scoreboard have been authentically recreated to match Engel as temporary set. A 40-ft high green screen hides the entire outfield wall from view.
History at Engel Stadium