Photograph courtesy Michael Kalanick
In 1958, a major undertaking began in order to replace the aging Lane Field which had been the home for all San Diego Padres baseball since 1936. The new Westgate Park was to be located in the Mission Valley of San Diego... away from Lane Field's location right along the ocean ports of San Diego. Westgate Park rose quickly and by April of 1958, the new ballpark was a beautiful new addition to San Diego. The Padres came to play ball for the Triple-A Pacific
Coast League in their new stadium in April of 1958, and it was considered to be one of the most attractive in the country. The interesting thing however about this new ballpark is that it wasn't architecturally complete. The plans and the structure were left "open", allowing the ballpark to expanded upon for 5x more the seating capacity. Westgate Park was built to be expanded from 8,000 to 40,000 with relative ease and quickness by double-decking the current grandstand and then adding additional grandstands from left to right, should the situation arise. Many ballclubs were about to make the trek across America to come to the West Coast for the first time... the Dodgers, Giants and Athletics crossed the continent to California to begin play as Pacific based Major League franchises... and the Padres were closely watching a situation that was beginning to heat up in Milwaukee Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Braves led the words "San Diego" slip from their tongues. Lane Field was replaced becaused it was aging, but really... the worry was that the Major Leagues were going to come calling and they wouldn't have a place to play. Now they did.