Ball From Shibe Park
On October 1, 1970,
baseball witnessed the end of an era, when Philadelphia’s
venerable Shibe Park (also known as Connie Mack Stadium)
hosted its last Major League game. This ball is the
very last ball hit at Shibe Park on that historic day.
This ball came off of the bat of Phillies outfielder
Oscar Gamble, whose single to center in the bottom of
the 10th inning scored Tim McCarver the winning run
in the Phillies' exciting 2-1 victory over the Montreal
Expos. Boots Day was the Expos center fielder who retrieved
the ball at the end of the game and, afterwards, realizing
its significance, gave it to Phillies shortstop Bobby
Wine. The ball remained in Wine’s personal collection
for many years until he finally decided to part with
it in 1990.
Shibe Park opened its gates on April 12, 1909 and,
for the next 61 years, was home to both the Philadelphia
Athletics (1909-1954) and Philadelphia Phillies (1938-1970).
Built at a cost of $300,000, it was the first concrete
and steel stadium in Major League history. It was originally
named for Ben Shibe, an A’s stockholder and baseball
manufacturer, but, in 1953, the team changed the name
of the stadium to Connie Mack Stadium in honor of its
longtime manager. It was torn down in 1976.
When you think about who played at Shibe Park, one
of baseball’s last “cathedrals,” it
makes this “last ball” that much more significant.
Among those who had played at the stadium were Jimmie
Foxx, Mickey Cochrane and Lefty Grove. In addition,
Babe Ruth hit the most home runs of his career at this
stadium, while Ty Cobb stole bases there. The Philadelphia
Athletics won World Series at the stadium in 1910, 1911,
1913, 1929 and 1930.
Connie Mack Stadium sat empty and unwanted for the
better part of six years, suffering a fire on August
20, 1971, the same day that the Connie Mack statue was
re-dedicated at Veterans Stadium. It was finally razed
in 1976 during the 1976 All-Star game. The ballpark
that was once a "church of baseball" is now
the site of an actual Christian church, the Deliverance
|Some of the greats who called
Shibe Park home.