Shibe Park

Shibe Park is a baseball park, which was later renamed Conne Mack Stadium. The facility is located in Philadelphia, PA, and it served as the primary home of the local AL team, Philadelphia Athletics. In addition to that, it also served the Blue Jays, better known as the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. This park has a very long history, and in fact, it opened in 1909. Back then, it actually was the first of its kind, because it was the very first baseball stadium to be built with steel and concrete, essentially foreshadowing the modern approach to building stadiums, in an era in which most stadiums where quire literally fields with wooden bleachers on the side and very litters in terms of infrastructures. The park hosted many memorable event, including eight World Seires, as well as not one, but two MLB All-Star Games, almost a decade apart (1943 and 1952). The stadium was also the place where a night game was held for the very first time in the American League, giving way to a whole new playing trend, which took off from the 1940s onwards. Many locals as well as baseball fans in general look back fondly on this stadium, which was demolished in 1976, about 68 years since its opening. Famously, broadcast personality Riche Ashbury remembered this baseball park by saying that this venue had a heartbeat, it had feeling. In his own words, “It looked like a ballpark, it smelled like a ballpark.”

Shibe Park was built because the Philadelphia Athletics were actually drawing larger audiences. There were so many people wanting to attend games that unfortunately the audience had to be turned away regularly, since the Columbia Park, the previous home of the team, simply didn’t have a large capacity. The previous facility wasn’t exactly aging by that time, but it could barely hold 9.500 spectators, when demand exceeded 28,000 on a given game. Eventually, the team managers located a suitable area for their construction. The area that hosted Shibe Park was undeveloped and semi-rural, so it seemed like the best opportunity to build a bigger facility, that still was not going to be too far removed from the city. The stadium was expanded considerably throughout the years, and the Athletics were actually doing quite well as a team. However, the venue experienced some issue and nearly closed down in the great depression era, especially as most people actually figured out that they could watch the games from neighboring homes and rooftops. The practice became so popular throughout the 30s that a little industry around the stadium was created, with people selling tickets to view games from their private porches and roofs, as well as families preparing food and refreshments. Eventually, this would chip away at the team’s income, so the managers decided to raise a fence, which would prevent outsiders from viewing the games. The fence became known as the “Spite Fence,” because it actually caused most of the neighbor too complain, especially due to the unsightly view!

By the mid 60s, the stadium was in a general state of decline, as the neighborhood was changing. The final game at Shibe park, later renamed Connie Mack Stadium, happened on October 1sth, 1970, with a victory from the Phillies against the Montreal team, which was visiting. To this day, the famous rooftop bleacher seats at Shibe Park inspired the design of a special area of Cizien Bank Park, which pays tribute to the former facility.