Connie Mack Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, June 5, 1960 – Doubleheader action between the Pirates and Phillies in one of baseball great Shrines once known as Shibe Park

Connie Mack Stadium, Philadelphia, PA, June 5, 1960 – Doubleheader action between the Pirates and Phillies in one of baseball great Shrines once known as Shibe Park

 Built in 1909 and baptized with the name of Shibe Park, the Athletics constructed one of the two ground breaking ballparks of it’s era (Forbes Field being the other) by leading the change from wooden ballparks, vulnerable to just the smallest spark of fire, to a concrete and steel venues that would stand the test of time.

It was home to two Major League teams, the Athletics (AL) from 1909 till their departure to Kansas City in 1954, and the Phillies (NL) who moved out of the Baker Bowl, Philadelphia’s other grand cathedral from the past, in 1938 and stayed till Connie Mack Stadium’s last days.

And in the face of just modest upkeep, this historic ballpark still stood majestically in 1960 as it should bearing witness to some of baseball’s best glory days by hosting eight World Series and being home to a few of history’s best teams with Connie Mack’s A’s. And the 1929 A’s squad that won the World Series and is arguably considered baseball’s best team ever, and yes, even better than the 1927 New York Yankees from just two years earlier.

The research on this photo placed the action during the eighth inning of the second game of a Sunday doubleheader in June of 1960 between the Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies have righty Jim Owens on the mound tossing a five-hit shutout, seen here pitching to the Bucs first baseman Dick Stuart with two outs and no one on.

But something went wrong on either this pitch or after it as Stuart in this at-bat would take Owens long to deep center for this third home run of the season and the Pirates first run of the game, or the day for that matter as Pittsburgh also lost the opener 2-0 earlier in the day, and spoil Owens bid for a shutout.

And even though Owens fell short of shutting out the Bucs and he did improve his seasonal record to 3-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.18, the rest of the year did not take kindly to the right-hander as he would go 1-9 with a 6.46 ERA and see his ERA for the 1960 season balloon over 5.00.

And despite the unlikely sweep by the Phillies, these two teams were heading in two opposite directions for the 1960 season. The Phillies would finish the year in last place with a 59-95 record and not only would the Pirates reverse those numbers to an impressive 95-59 performance, but also finish in first place of the National League – their first pennant in 34 years – and winning a World Series title in beating the New York Yankees in a climatic seven game series.

The remaining years of Philadelphia’s greatest baseball shrine were uneventful and sadly foreseen to the keenest of the business eye – the lack of parking in the growing era of the automobile and the steady decline of it’s neighborhood led to the ballpark’s inevitable demise. And on October 1, 1970, the Phillies played their last home game at Connie Mack Stadium in defeating the Montreal Expos 2–1 in 10 innings and the following year move into some concrete slab in South Philly. (Advanced apologies to all our good Phillies fans, I understand there are good memories to the Phillies third home like capturing the 1980 World Series there, but old-school and all I’ll never warm up to the “cookie cutters”. Even as a Mets fan I have trouble remembering Shea Stadium affectionately!)

-Ron A. Bolton

Photo Source – Rick Bowser
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