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Shibe Park / Connie Mack Stadium

Shibe Park Forever

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tenants: Philadelphia Athletics (AL), 1909 to 1954; Philadelphia Phillies (NL), part of 1927, 1938 to 1970.
Opened: April 12, 1909
First night game: May 16, 1939
Last game: October 1, 1970
Demolished: June 1976
Capacity: 20,000 (1909); 33,000 (1925).

Architects: William Steele and Sons
Construction: William Steele and Sons
Owner: Athletic Grounds Co. (owned by Shibe, Mack et al)
Cost: $457,167.61 ($141,918.92 for the land, $315,248.69 for the stadium)

Philadelphia Phillies & Oakland Athletics tickets:

Location: Left field (N), West Somerset Street; third base (W), North 21st Street; first base (S), West Lehigh Avenue; right field (E), North 20th Street.

Twenty-First and Lehigh

Dimensions: Left field: 360 (1909), 378 (late, 1909), 380 (1921), 334 (1922), 312 (1926), 334 (1930); center field: 515 (early, 1909), 502 (late, 1909), 468 (1922), 448 (1950), 440 (1951), 460 (1953), 468 (1954), 447 (1956), 410 (1969); right-center: 393 (1909), 390 (1969); right-center, left of scoreboard: 400 (1942); right field: 360 (early, 1909), 340 (late, 1909), 380 (1921), 307 (1926), 331 (1931), 331 (to lower, 1934), 329 (to upper iron fence, 1934); backstop: 90 (1942), 86 (1943), 78 (1956), 64 (1960).

Fences: Left field to left-center: 12 (4 screen above 8 concrete, 1949); center field, small section: 20 (1955), 8 (wood, 1956), 3 (canvas, 1969); right-center scoreboard: 50 (top of black scoreboard, 1956), 60 (top of Ballantine Beer Sign, 1956); right field: 12 (concrete, 1909), 34 (22 corrugated iron above 12 concrete, 1935), 30 (1943), 50 (1949), 40 (1953), 30 (1954), 40 (1955), 32 (1956).

Aerial view of Shibe Park
 
View from the press box

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.

Inside Connie Mack Stadium
 
Twenty-First and Lehigh today

More on Shibe Park / Connie Mack Stadium:

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • To Every Thing a Season: Shibe Park and Urban Philadelphia, 1909-1976 by Bruce Kuklick.
  • Philadelphia's Old Ballparks by Rich Westcott.
  • Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
  • The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
  • City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
  • Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
  • Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
  • Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
  • Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
  • The Story of America's Classic Ballparks (VHS).

Columbia Park ParkMunicipal StadiumOakland-Alameda County ColiseumCisco Field
 Baker BowlVeterans StadiumCitizens Bank Park

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IMAGES:

Shibe Park Forever © 1990 by Andy Jurinko.
Twenty-First and Lehigh © 1996 by Thomas Kolendra.
Aerial view of Shibe Park courtesy of the National Baseball Library, Cooperstown, NY.
Close up aerial view courtesy of the Sporting News.
View from the press box courtesy of the Sporting News.
View inside Connie Mack Stadium courtesy of the Franklin Digital Collection.
Twenty-First and Lehigh today © 1999 by Paul Munsey.

Updated April 2005

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