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.