For more than three decades Veterans
Stadium was home of the Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
and Eagles (NFL), and was primarily known for two
things: its rowdy fans and terrible playing field.
Established in 1883, the Phillies played at
Connie Mack Stadium
from 1938 until 1970. In 1952 a $7 million
multipurpose stadium was proposed to be built for
both the Phillies and Eagles. It took over 19 years
for a new stadium to be construction. A $25 million
bond was approved by voters in 1964 and a
location for the facility in South Philadelphia was
chosen in 1966, while the cost of construction
continued to rise. On October 2, 1967 ground was
broken for the new stadium, named Veterans Stadium
after all veterans. Veterans Stadium was originally
scheduled to open in 1970 but was delayed due to
labor strikes, bad weather and construction delays.
Located outside downtown Philadelphia, Veterans Stadium
was located in a massive sports complex. Highways and parking lots
surrounded the colossal structure. In order to enter the stadium,
fans had to walk up ramps to arrive at the entrance gates. Once inside this
massive stadium, fans saw artificial turf and a sea of multi-colored seats.
The 100-300 level of seats were accessed from the main level upon
entering Veterans Stadium. Fans could also walked down ramps to access
the 100 and 200 levels of seats. In order to access the upper deck
fans had to take elevators or ramps. In baseball configuration,
Veterans Stadium held 62,382 fans. The 100 and 200 levels of
seats extended from the left field foul pole to home plate and around
to the right field foul pole. The other levels of seats at
the stadium circled the entire playing field. The press and club
level was in between the main and upper decks of the stadium.
Very few changes
took place at Veterans Stadium during its existence. The scoreboards
were originally above the right and left field
fence. It featured a homerun spectacular that
included Philadelphia Phil, a 20 foot figure that
appeared between the scoreboard, and if a homerun
were hit, he would hit a baseball that would travel
along the scoreboard, hitting a Liberty Bell, before
landing at Philadelphia Phyllis. In the 1970's,
fountains were located between the scoreboards and
would spew during various times throughout the game.
By the 1980s this was removed and a new $4 million "Phanvision"
video/scoreboard was added. In 1986 two new
scoreboards were added at the top of the upper deck
in the outfield and new luxury skyboxes were added
below the stadium roof around the stadium. A
replica of the Liberty Bell was located on the
stadium roof in center field. The multicolored seats
were replaced with blue seats after the 1994 season.
Throughout its history Veterans Stadium was known
as having the worst playing turf in professional
sports. New turf was
installed six times throughout the history of the
stadium and the Eagles football gridiron could be
seen during baseball games.
By the turn of the 21st century, both the Phillies
and Eagles wanted new stadiums built. The 2003
season marked the Phillies last season at Veterans
Stadium. On September 28, 2003 they played their
last game here against the Atlanta Braves. On March
21, 2004, Veterans Stadium was demolished. The
Phillies moved across the street into
Park and the Eagles into
Lincoln Financial Field in 2004.