Baseball’s Deadliest Disaster: “Black Saturday” in Philadelphia

By Robert D. Warrington

This article was published in the 2013 The National Pastime.

“From the lips of a frightened little girl came a cry of terror yesterday afternoon that lured hundreds of panic-stricken men to death and injury at the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds.” So begins the front-page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper describing the deadliest disaster ever to occur at a major league ballpark. On August 8, 1903, part of the top left-field bleacher balcony at the Philadelphia Phillies’ ballpark collapsed, hurling hundreds of people headlong to the pavement below. Twelve people died and 232 were injured. The tragedy, its . . .

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