Columbia Park, former home of the Philadelphia Athletics

Philadelphia, PA

Nestled in between the streets of the Brewerytown neighborhood in north Philadelphia was the Athletics first home, Columbia Park, for eight seasons. It was not the first ballpark with this name as another Columbia Park was the home to the Philadelphia Centennials for a brief stint in 1875. When the American League awarded Philadelphia the Athletics in 1901 owner Ben Shibe and co-owner/manager Connie Mack sought to find a location to build a ballpark for the team. They settled on a rectangle plot of land along Columbia Avenue and Oxford Street. Here a $35,000 ballpark was constructed. Named after its location, this small wooden ballpark had a seating capacity of 9,500 that consisted of a single tier covered grandstand that stretched from behind homeplate to first and third base. Bleachers continued down the foul lines to the outfield. The Athletics played their first game at Columbia Park on April 26, 1901 against Washington.

Over its short history the ballpark changed little. Additional seating was added to the bleachers down the foul lines in 1903 and 1905 increasing the seating capacity to 13,600. The Athletics were a very successful team winning two pennants in 1902 and 1905. Due to its small size and the team’s popularity Shibe decided to build a new ballpark, Shibe Park. The Athletics played their last game at Columbia Park on October 3, 1908, a loss against Boston. Columbia Park remained standing for several years before being demolished.