Shortly before the 1944 season was scheduled to open, it looked like Sacramento might lose its baseball club. In early February, rumors began to circulate that the St. Louis Cardinals organization intended to sell its Sacramento franchise to a group in Vancouver, British Columbia. Seattle owner Emil Sick, who didn't welcome the competition, blocked that attempt exercising an option to purchase Vancouver's ballpark.
Two days later, it was reported that Tacoma had purchased the franchise. The Sacramento Chamber of Commerce immediately sent a letter to PCL President Clarence "Pants" Rowland requesting a delay in any action to move the team, and sent a telegram to Cardinals President Sam Breadon, asking how much he wanted to sell the team. Breadon responded that the franchise and players had already been sold to the Tacoma group for $50,000 but "if they care to relinquish the deal, I will make you the same offer."
The owners of several of the other PCL teams, including Seals owner Charlie Graham, Oaks owner Clarence "Brick" Laws, and Padres owner Charles Lott, also opposed the move of the Solons franchise to Tacoma. Accordingly, PCL President Rowland told the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce that the league would disapprove the move if a Sacramento group could put up at least $50,000 by February 23 to buy the team.
After a drive to raise the money initially failed, it was 30 year old Dick Edmonds, sports editor for the Sacramento Union, who took up the cause. He convinced a 28 year old grocery and liquor store and night club owner named Yubi Separovich to invest $5,000 and help him raise the balance of the funds. Together, Edmonds and Separovich contacted every potential investor they knew and in the two days before the deadline raised a total of $60,000.
Because of a record setting snowstorm that day, they arrived three hours late for the meeting in Los Angeles on February 23 to learn that the PCL directors had already voted to approve the transfer to Tacoma. Edmonds and Separovich were nevertheless allowed to present their case, and the directors took a second vote to allow the team to stay in Sacramento.
After learning that the league would not approve the move, Tacoma dropped its claim, and Breadon finally agreed to sell the Sacramento group the ballpark for $50,000 and the franchise and players for $40,000. The Sacramento Baseball Association was immediately incorporated, selling stock for $50 a share. The original contributors became the first Board of Directors.
The efforts of Edmonds and Separovich did not go unrecognized. Yubi Separovich was named the first general manager of the Sacramento Baseball Association, at a salary of $5,000 per year, and Dick Edmonds was honored on September 9, 1945, between games of a double header, by having the ballpark renamed after him. The park remained named Edmonds Field until it was finally demolished in May of 1964.
On Sunday, July 11, 1948, an enthusiastic crowd watched the Solons close their most successful homestand of the year against the Seattle Rainiers at Edmonds Field. The attendance at that double header brought the home attendance for the year to 167,100. Little did they know it, but that would be the last game they would see there that season. As they left the ballpark, one fan unwittingly tossed a lit cigarette near the rear of the press box. It smouldered there unnoticed for several hours.
Shortly before midnight fire battalion chief Larry Mangan had just finished a root beer at the drug store next to the Tower Theater. As he walked out, over his left shoulder he saw smoke billowing into the air. It was obvious where it was coming from -- Edmonds Field. He called in the alarm on his car radio, and hurried to the ballpark, where he began fighting the fire with a garden hose. At first, he thought he could beat it, but then "it began ripping and it beat me back. I couldn't lick it."
Mangan and his fellow firefighters were unable to control the blaze. Before it was finally extinguished it had destroyed the entire wooden structure, including the grandstand, bleachers, dressing rooms and offices. Nothing was left except part of the covered bleachers in left field. Three houses on Riverside Boulevard were also burned down with it. The loss was estimated at more than $1 million.
The Solons played the rest of the 1948 season on the road. A new group of investors headed by Sacramento Mayor George Klump took over control of the franchise from Chicago attorney Oscar Salenger who had recently purchased 53 percent of the stock. The new owners promised to build a modern plant which would make any other city in the league envious. The low bid on the project was $229,000, plus $60,000 for painting and electrical work. Work on reconstructing the ballpark began in October. Although the league agreed to help finance the rebuilding the ballpark, it was rebuilt without league assistance in time for the start of the 1949 season.
The new Edmonds Field was entirely different from the old one. The wooden structure with large roof over the grandstand and covered bleacher section in the left field corner was replaced by a gray concrete structure with no roof anywhere. The left field bleachers, scoreboard and advertizing signs in the outfield had not been destroyed, so that the fans in the stands looking toward the field had some feeling of familiarity with the new facility.
Edmonds Field was the home of the Solons for another eleven years. After reporting a loss of $113,000 for the year, in 1958 the team owners announced that they were considering either selling the franchise or selling the field and leasing it back from the buyer for a period of up to two years. As in 1944, the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce sought to come to the rescue with a fund raising drive. The team the 1959 season and finished in a respectable fourth place. Attendance had dropped however, as did the Solons standing. In 1960, franchise lost $100,000, and its assets were reduced to almost nothing. The fund raising drive did not meet its goal, and on November 14, the shareholders voted to accept the board of directors' decision to sell the franchise. On December 15, the league bou;ght the franchise and sold it to the owner of the Salt Lake City Bees and a Salt Lake City banker. The teams only other assets were sold to the new Hawaii team.
Edmonds Field stood at the corner of Riverside and Broadway until it was torn down in May of 1964 to make way for a Gemco discount store. The site is now home to a Target Store, which displays pictures of the ballpark in its lobby. Sacramento's present PCL baseball team, the River Cats, plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento.