Veterans Stadium

 Philadelphia, PA

Review by Mike

Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, PA

Veterans Stadium was the home of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. Veterans Stadium opened in 1971, replacing Connie Mack Stadium (aka Shibe Park). It was a fine example of the era in which it was built; artificial turf, round and multi-purpose, big, and generally unfriendly to baseball fans. The ballparks of this era are universally derided for their uniformity and lack of character, but one must remember that, when they opened, they were celebrated as modern and clean, civic centers of which to be proud.

"The Vet" had a few things that made it stand out from the crowd a little. They had the Phillie Phanatic, who was always entertaining, and cheesesteak at the concession stand, which was a greasy delight. When these pictures were taken, in 1991, the colorful seats added a little visual interest to the interior, but were then replaced by very boring blue seats.

Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, PA

Located in the sports district south of Philadelphia, Veterans Stadium was very easy to get to, although the location did lack any sense that you were actually in Philadelphia, other than the neon Liberty Bell on the upper rim of the stadium in centerfield. No view of downtown, nor the Delaware River bridges, was available as the stadium was entirely enclosed. (Note: The original Veterans Stadium Liberty Bell stands outside the entrance to the new ballpark.)

Since my initial visit in 1991, every stadium that once stood in the area has been demolished and replaced. The Vet is gone, along with JFK Stadium and The Spectrum. The location is still rather sterile, but Citizens Bank Park is a significant upgrade over what had been there before. If these concrete, multi-purpose donuts served any purpose, it was to remind everyone that baseball is meant to be played in a ballpark, not a stadium, and the result is the landscape of lovely baseball palaces we have today. It's just a shame that most of the classic old parks had to be destroyed before this lesson could be learned.

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