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Marking Pennsylvania History

Remembering The Stadium

The crowd breathed baseball, but the experience spilled over into many other things urban, 20th century, and distinctly Philadelphia. Memory can be tricky, especially when overlaid with decades of vintage photographs, but there is no mistaking the real thing that lives deep inside. More lasting than images is the first impression of being brought into a great and wonderful place. Like a circus or a county fair, the evening's humid air was spiced with mustard, hot dogs, cigars, popcorn and beer. But this was not lighthearted like a circus. Here stood a palace to serious play from Philadelphia's Iron Age that trembled, ever so gently as the fans shuffled up metal staircases to the stands. Then, at the top (or as far from the top as we could afford tickets) our eyes felt both jolted and treated to the first images of a real, fresh, sward of green, tidy and lined. On it were the boys of summer, not always heroes - but that didn't stop us from hoping.

Shibe Park - I knew it as Connie Mack Stadium - resided in the neighborhood of Swampoodle for only fair stretch of time. Six decades at 21st and Lehigh was enough to host eight World Series, two All Star games, and three Negro World Series. The Park played host to the Philadelphia Athletics for 46 seasons, and the Phillies for nearly 33.

Some would say there is a little magic in that number. I'd say there is a little magic in the memory.

- Kenneth FInkel, Executive Director of WHYY's Arts & Culture Service

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