Columbia Park

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This article is about the founding home of the Philadelphia Athletics. For other uses, see Columbia Park (disambiguation).
Columbia Park
Columbia Park Philadelphia.jpg
Columbia Park in 1907.
Location 2900 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19121
Owner Philadelphia Athletics
Capacity 9,500 (1901)
13,600 (1905)
Field size Left Field - 340 ft
Left Center - 392 ft
Deep Left Center - 440 ft
Center Field - 396 ft
Right Center - 323 ft
Right Field - 280 ft
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1900
Opened April 26, 1901
Closed October 3, 1908
Demolished 1912
Construction cost US$35,000
($992 thousand in 2014 dollars[1])
Tenants
Philadelphia Athletics (MLB) (1901-1908)
Philadelphia Giants (Independent) (1902-1908)
Philadelphia Phillies (MLB) (August 20-September 10, 1903)
Philadelphia Athletics (NFL) (1902)

Columbia Park or Columbia Avenue Grounds was a baseball park in Philadelphia. It was built in 1901 as the first home of the Philadelphia Athletics, who played two games of the 1905 World Series there.

Columbia Park fell into disuse after the Athletics' move in 1909 to the larger Shibe Park, and was demolished in the 1910s.

Home of the Philadelphia Athletics[edit]

Columbia Park was built in 1901 by the Philadelphia Athletics when the team was established, in the creation of the American League. The site was a vacant lot that had been leased by manager and part-owner Connie Mack for 10 years. [2] It occupied the block bordered by 29th Street, Oxford Street, 30th Street, and Columbia Avenue (since renamed Cecil B. Moore Avenue, in honor of the civil rights leader). The cost of construction was $35,000.

A photograph of Columbia Park on opening day, 26 April 1901, which was printed in the next day's Philadelphia Inquirer

The stadium was very small, and originally had a seating capacity of only 9,500. This was eventually increased to 13,600 by the addition of bleacher seating in the outfield. During some sold out games, unofficial additional seating could be found on top of the adjoining homes. There was only one dressing room, for the home team; visiting teams had to change at their hotels. Although the ballpark was in Philadelphia's Brewerytown section, beer sales were prohibited.

The opening game in Columbia Park was held on April 26, 1901, after the first two games were rained out. The Athletics played the Washington Senators in front of an overflow crowd of 10,524, with some fans standing on the outfield walls and the roofs of nearby houses. The Athletics lost 5-1, despite three hits by second baseman Nap Lajoie.[3]

Conference on the field during a 1905 World Series game at Columbia Park.

World Series[edit]

During their tenure at Columbia Park, the Athletics won the American League pennant twice. The first time was in 1902, before the institution of the modern World Series. Three years later the Athletics won again and faced the New York Giants in the 1905 World Series.

The Giants won the series 4 games to 1. Games 1 and 3 were held at Columbia Park. Both were shutout victories for Giants future hall of famer Christy Matthewson. [4]

Other teams[edit]

The Athletics leased the ballpark to the independent Negro League club, the Philadelphia Giants. The Giants played at the ballpark while the Athletics were on the road. The Giants were the first club to play night-baseball in Philadelphia when they played under portable lights on June 4, 1902.

The Philadelphia Phillies temporarily called Columbia Park home in 1903 while Baker Bowl was repaired after a balcony collapse on August 8, 1903.[5] The Phillies played sixteen games at Columbia Park in August and September 1903.[6]

The stadium also briefly served as the home of the Philadelphia Athletics football club, before the team folded in 1902.

Disuse and demolition[edit]

The final game played at the park took place on October 3, 1908; the visiting Boston Americans defeated the Athletics 5-0 in the second game of a doubleheader. The lack of seating at Columbia Park was the main reason the Athletics left for Shibe Park. The sod from Columbia Park was transplanted to Shibe Park after the 1908 season.[7]

After the Athletics left, the park was almost entirely abandoned. Columbia Park was eventually demolished in the 1910s to make way for new homes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ Selter, Ronald M. (2008). Ballparks of the Deadball Era: A Comprehensive Study of their Dimensions, Configurations, and Effects on Batting, 1901 – 1919. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland & Company. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-7864-3561-6. 
  3. ^ "Carrick, All to the Good, Fools The Athletic Hitters". Philadelphia Inquirer. 27 April 1901. 
  4. ^ Ritter, Lawrence (1992). Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields. New York: Viking Studio Books. p. 178. ISBN 0140234225. 
  5. ^ Macht, Norman L.; Connie Mack, III (2007). Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball. University of Nebraska Press. p. 316. ISBN 0-8032-3263-2. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  6. ^ "Alternate Site Games Since 1901". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  7. ^ Frommer, Harvey (2008). Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball. University of Nebraska Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-8032-1862-1. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
first ballpark
Home of the Philadelphia Athletics
19011908
Succeeded by
Shibe Park

Coordinates: 39°58′52″N 75°10′58″W / 39.98111°N 75.18278°W / 39.98111; -75.18278