I live not far from Philadelphia, and yesterday I finally decided to seek out the site of old Shibe Park, a.k.a. Connie Mack Stadium, where the Phillies and Athletics played for the better part of the 20th century.
I drove through north Philadelphia and expected to walk around the site a bit, anticipating that I’d be able at least to snap a photo of the site and maybe find a historic marker or two.
Not to be.
The block where the stadium stood is consumed by a fortress-like brick church, erected sometime after the Phillies played their last game there in 1970. The park was demolished in 1976 — when our nation was celebrating its bicentennial.
If there is a marker on the site, I didn’t bother to look for it. I made a half-hearted attempt to get a picture of the church but the late-afternoon sun cast too much of a shadow and I drove on, past a few abandoned factories before turning down Broad Street — also a shadow of its former self — toward City Hall. I passed the intersection with Oxford Street and decided not to follow it to Columbia Park, where the Athletics played before Shibe Park opened.
I’ll visit that site and the site of the old Baker Bowl location some other time, perhaps in the spring, a more optimistic time of year.
4 thoughts on “A visit to Shibe Park (sort of)”
Another great post.
Shibe Park, Tiger Stadium, Municipal Stadium in KC, League Park, Comiskey. I’m assuming a very many others: (Pittsburgh? Definitely. Milwaukee? Cincinnati? St. Louis? Minneapolis? Probably; I don’t know.)
Between–what?–the ’60s and late 80s, parks through this Rust Belt stop being “parks” and instead become stadiums. In doing so they lose the close, symbiotic relationships to their communities. The local economies visibly suffer.
From what I can tell, economists have been agreed for 10-15 years that new stadiums do not increase economic activity much or at all (In some cases, new stadiums in new areas take money out of the neighborhood.)
I s’pose Wrigley and Fenway (and Lambeau?) are vestiges of a lost positive park-to-neighborhood relationship.
I believe up in Boston, there is a marker there for the old Braves ballpark, located somewhere on what is now a college campus. Never tried to find it, but if I ever get back up that way, I’ll try to get a picture.
Sad that all these old parks are gone, and remembered only by those of us who are generally already in middle age.
I believe home plate from Forbes Field in Pittsburgh is at the student union at the University of Pittsburgh. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been by the old League Park site in Cleveland, so I’ll have to fix that next time I’m back there. Another site on my list: Elysian Fields in Hoboken, where supposedly the first pro game was played. That I can get to within about an hour’s drive. Road trip!
I’m looking forward to your next report, Dan. Best, Michael / Grubby.