Demolition began Monday on Columbia 
University's Baker Field, ending the 60-
year saga of the nation's oldest wooden 
major sports stadium. 
   Columbia began playing its home football 
games at Baker Field in 1923 and the 
stadium is being razed to make way for a 
20,000-seat concrete stadium to be ready 
for the 1984 season. 
   "It's really a good thing," said Cliff 
Montgomery, quarterback of the Columbia 
football team that won the 1934 Rose Bowl 
against Stanford. "When I played here, many 
of us on the team worked here in the summer 
to help maintain the stadium. We would 
paint it, repair it, nail down the loose 
boards and clean it up. We also painted the 
fence on Broadway and the people going to 
work in the mornings used to ask us when we 
would finish painting. 
   "What they didn't know was we used to 
knock off at about 2 o'clock and go up to 
Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds to watch 
the baseball games." 
   At that time, the New York Giants, now 
located in San Francisco, played at the 
Polo Grounds where Columbia also played an 
occasional football game. 
   "The place was held together by the 
paint," said Al Barabas, the halfback who 
scored the only touchdown in Columbia's 7-0 
victory over Stanford in the 1934 Rose 
Bowl. "There were also, I think, a few 
rubber bands holding it together." 
   Baker Field was also the site of 
Columbia's famous 1947 victory over Army, 
21-20, that ended the Cadets' 34-game 
winning streak. In 1961, Columbia won the 
Ivy League football championship but its 
teams in recent years have been a 
disappointment, except for the performance 
of quarterbacks such as Marty Domres and 
John Witkowski, who last year passed for 
over 3,000 yards. 
   Columbia officials are hopeful that the 
$10 million project will improve the 
school's athletic recruiting. Demolition of 
the old wooden stands is expected to take 
about three weeks with preliminary 
construction work on the new stands 
beginning this summer. 
   Columbia will play its 1983 schedule on 
the road or at neutral sites.