Built in 1909 and baptized with the name of Shibe Park, the Athletics constructed one of the two ground breaking ballparks of it’s era (Forbes Field being the other) by leading the change from wooden ballparks, vulnerable to just the smallest spark of fire, to a concrete and steel venues that would stand the test of time.
It was home to two Major League teams, the Athletics (AL) from 1909 till their departure to Kansas City in 1954, and the Phillies (NL) who moved out of the Baker Bowl, Philadelphia’s other grand cathedral from the past, in 1938 and stayed till Connie Mack Stadium’s last days.
In baseball’s landscape of horse buggies and wooden carts, Shibe Park emerged as the Model T of ballparks, a sparkling trendsetter that introduced steel and concrete to the game’s vernacular, beget rooftop entrepreneurs long before Wrigley and brought the game out of its lumbered, fire-cursed squalor. That it stood for generations while two tenants largely stank up the joint was a testament to its perseverance.*
SHIBE PARK FACTS #
- The first concrete-and-steel stadium in the majors, it was completed in less than one year.
- City block on which the ballpark was built measured 520 feet along 21st and 20th Streets; 481 feet, 3 inches along Lehigh Avenue and Somerset Street.
- Named for Ben Shibe, an Athletics stockholder and baseball manufacturer.
- Renamed Connie Mack Stadium in 1953.
- Upper-deck and left field stands added in 1925.
- Mezzanine added in 1929.
- Before 1935, 20th Street residents could see games for free over the 12-foot right-field fence & fans could see the laundry lines on the roofs of 20th Street houses. Connie Mack lost a lawsuit to prevent this, so he built the high right-field ‘spite’ fence.
- Site of the 1952 and 1943 All-Star games.
- Old Yankee Stadium scoreboard installed in front of the right-center wall in 1956.
- In 1956 the normal backstop screen was replaced with see-through Plexiglas.
- The last game was played on October 1, 1970.
- Home plate was moved to Veterans Stadium in 1971.
- Damaged by fire on August 20, 1971.
- Torn down in June 1976, while the All-star game was being played at Veterans Stadium.
- Now the site of the Deliverance Evangelistic Church
BELOW ARE SOME OF THE ARTIFACTS FROM SHIBE PARK IN THE MUSEUM – CLICK THE IMAGES FOR A LARGER VIEW