Albertson: Phillies finally abandon Baker Bowl, 80 years ago

From SABR member Matt Albertson at Sports Talk Philly on July 4, 2018:

It was the best of times when the Phillies opened their new ballpark on April 30, 1887. The national Sporting Life noted in its May 4 issue that despite the cold weather, the new grounds were among the very best in the major leagues. “The weather was quite cold and the wind very high, nevertheless people assembled to do honor to the occasion and to testify by their presence their appreciation of the exceeding liberality, enthusiastic faith in base ball…Philadelphia…[possesses]…a pleasure resort unequaled anywhere.” The Sporting Life further explained that the stadium was built of brick and metal, among the first baseball stadiums in the nation to announce a club’s geographic permanence compared to earlier stadiums which were made of wood. That year was the Phillies’ most successful in their short five year history, finishing second in the National League, finishing 3.5 games behind the Detroit Wolverines who went on to defeat the St. Louis Browns in a 15 game World Series. 

The stadium was once the crown jewel of the National League when it opened in 1887 but it soon fell on hard times with a fire in 1894 and several more safety incidents in the early twentieth century. Despite this, the club was, by and large, the main draw in town as the Athletics and their league, the American Association, were on the decline and folded following the 1890 season. The short-lived Philadelphia club of the Player’s League jumped to the American Association after the former league dissolved following the 1890 season, and subsequently folded for good after the 1891 season when the American Association also collapsed.

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Originally published: July 5, 2018. Last Updated: July 5, 2018.