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Capacity: 62,418 (baseball); 65,346 (football)
Veterans Stadium

Area of fair territory: 112,000 sq. ft.

Area of foul territory: Large

 

Fences: 12 ft

 

Elevation: 100 feet

 

TICKETING
200 Level
Field Boxes
$22.50
200 Level
Terrace boxes
$19
300 Level
Terrace Boxes
$19
500 Level
Loge boxes
$17
600 Level Reserved $13
700 Level Reserved $7
General Admission $7

General Information

Address:
3501 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
For ticket information call: (215) 463-1000

Who Plays Here: Philadelphia Phillies (NL); Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)
First opened: April 4, 1971
First Phillies game: April 10, 1971
Surface: Astroturf (1971-2000); NeXturf (2001-present)

Architect: Hugh Stubbins & Associates
Builder: n/a
Owner: City of Philadelphia
Cost: $50 million (financed by multiple bond issues)

 

 

Veterans Stadium

 

 

History

     There isn't much that is nice that I can say about the Vet - looking on the bright side of this place is like looking on the bright side of a multi-car accident.  From the air, it is an almost perfect circle ... well, another compliment eludes me.

     The Vet was built in haste - and the city has repented in leisure - in a complex near the southern tip of the city of Philadelphia that includes the Philadelphia Spectrum, which used to house the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and 76ers of the NBA, and the brand new First Union Center, which is the new home of those teams.  The stadium was built when multi-purpose, artificial turf, symmetrical facilities were in vogue; the stadium suffers from a variety of shortcomings common to ballparks of the era.  First of all, the circular configuration of seats may work for football, but it leaves the majority of fans far removed from the action on a baseball diamond.  For fans in the upper deck, popups to he second baseman and home runs to dead center are indistinguishable.  The massive foul territory leaves even the best seats in the house removed from the action.  Second, the brightly painted seats - red, orange, yellow and blue, depending on the level - combine with the garish, almost fluorescent green of the artificial turf and the matching fences to form a sickly, garish rainbow of synthetic colors.  Third, the hot dogs may be the smallest in baseball.  Fourth, the stadium is completely encircled - there is no skyline twinkling during night games, no view of Center City over the outfield backdrop, no waterfall display in center field or renovated warehouse in rightfield.

     Finally, the artificial turf is notoriously ill-kept.  Infielders frequently complain about the "Sunday hops" here, which occur when the blazing afternoon sun bakes the turf into a hard surface, and outfielders have been known to watch the ball hop over their heads.  The ball takes a lot of bad bounces here in general, catching seams and bends in the rock-hard carpet.

 

The Fans: Almost as unforgiving as the turf are the fans.  Woe to the infielder who misses a routine grounder or the outfielder who drops a routine pop.  Fans here are resentful - resentful that their team is a hard-luck franchise, that they weren't born New Yorkers, that their team plays in a cookie-cutter monstrosity, that their city is suffering an urban decay.  Perhaps no other fans are as hard on their players as Phillies fans.  For instance, attendance soared above 2.48 million each year from 1976 to 1980, when the Phillies were wining - they won the NL East championships in 1976, 1977, and 1978, and in 1980; they won the World Series in 1980 by beating the Kansas City Royals.  The World Series returned to Veterans Stadium in 1983 and 1993, but the Phillies lost both times.  In 1993, the Phillies were fourth in the NL in attendance, with a season record of 3,137,674; however, attendance has since dropped to about half of that, as the team's fortunes have imploded.

 

Background: The Philadelphia Phillies were one of baseball's hard-luck franchises in 1971, when the Vet opened.  They had never won a World Series title - and that's going back to their inception in 1883.  The Phillies had been to the World Series just twice in 88 years: they lost in 5 to the Red Sox in 1915, were swept by the Yankees in 1950.

     Of course, the Philadelphia Athletics had had some success - they won the Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913, led by Hall of Famers Chief Bender, Eddie Collins and Frank "Home Run" Baker; they went to the big dance in 1929 (beat the Cubs in 5), 1930 (beat the Cardinals in 6) and 1931 (dropped a Game 7 to the Cards), led by Hall of Famers Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and Mickey Cochrane - but that was a different franchise, and Phillies fans were fed up.

     Against this backdrop, they built a vast new stadium, supplanting the glorious 20,000-eat Shibe Park (which had been built in 1909, and was a part of the firmament of classic ballparks - the Polo Grounds, Ebbetts Field, Yankee Stadium, Braves Field, Fenway Park, Forbes Field, Navin Field a.k.a Tiger Stadium, the original Comiskey Park, Wrigley Field, Sportsman's Park and League Park are the others.)  This is still the largest National League ballpark, with a maximum capacity of 62,418 (although Mile High Stadium temporarily took that title when the Rockies played there).

     After opening in 1971, the fences were raised from 6-feet to 12-feet because of an excessive amount of ground-rule doubles.  The Phillies are currently discussing building a new facility and hope to finalize an agreement with the city during 2000.

 

Veterans Stadium Firsts:
Game - April 10, 1971
Batter - Boots Day
Hit - Larry Bowa
Run - Ron Hunt
Home run - Don Money
RBI - Bob Bailey
Stolen base - Ron Hunt
Victory - Jim Bunning
Save - Joe Hoerner
Walk - Jim Bunning
Strikeout - Jim Bunning

Analysis

     The park favors no type of hitter in particular, because of its symmetry and thorough-going averageness of dimension.  It tends to play neutral for home runs somewhat, and gives an advantage to neither righties nor lefties.  It also boosts run production modestly, though not to an appreciable extent.  Hitters pick up the ball well out of the pitchers' hands, especially during night games. 

 

Defense:  The artificial turf is poorly kept, and on hot afternoons it virtually bakes into a hard top.  The ball here is known to take notorious "Sunday hops," and skip over outfielders heads.  That said, error totals tend to be low here, as the turf gives fielders a better chance to field true bounces cleanly; however, doubles and triples are boosted greatly as the slick turf sends the ball to the outfield wall with unmatched rapidity.  Agile corner outfielders who can get to the ball quickly and make strong, accurate throws are welcome.

 

 

1998-2000

2001

Error index: 81 67
Infield error index: 82 80

 

Who benefits: Hitters with a slashing stroke and gap power.  The ball races to the wall so fast that speedy players can turn singles into doubles, and doubles into triples.

 

Who gets hurt: Slow-footed infielders who can't get to the quick hops allow a large number of singles to scoot through.  Gold Glover Scott Rolen used to patrol his position with aplomb at third; Jimmy Rollins, who has great range and speed, is also great at shortstop.  Pitchers who get a lot of ground balls can get singled to death - see Vicente Padilla. 

 

 

Location

 

Philadelphia, PA: Left field (NE), Packer Street and Interstate 76; third base (NW), Broad Street and Philadelphia Naval Hospital; first base (SW), Pattison Avenue; right field (SE), Tenth Street.

 

 

Park Factors

 

 

  Run HR Avg L-Avg R-Avg L-HR R-HR H 2B 3B
1992 100 101 98 100 97 138 78 98 96 137
1993 101 91 99 99 100 99 84 101 107 103
1994 92 84 98 101 95 84 84 97 114 87
1995 120 127 100 100 112 148 112 103 125 87
1996 93 86 99 95 102 80 89 102 108 103
1997 99 96 100 96 105 78 109 103 125 89
1998 117 116 108 109 106 121 114 107 110 178
1999 105 104 98 105 94 143 87 100 106 92
2000 110 94 101 96 105 103 91 103 145 165
2001 91 97 93 91 95 117 87 92 102 102

 

 

1998-2000

2001

Walks: 112 111
Strikeouts: 112 113

 

Seating Chart

Veterans Stadium seating diagram

Dimensions

Foul lines: 330 ft.

Power alleys: 371 ft.

Center field: 408 ft.

Backstop: 60 ft.

Foul territory: Large.

 

Fences - History

April, 1971: 6 ft. -wood

June, 1972: 8 ft. - wood 

1972: 12 ft. - 6 ft. plexiglass above 6 ft. wood

 

Fun Facts

  • Lowest error factor in NL in 1999 and 2001
  • Lowest infield error factor in NL in 2001
  • Second lowest infield error factor in NL in 1999, 2000

 

  • Highest double factor in NL in 2000
  • Highest triples factor in NL in 1998
  • Highest strikeout factor in NL in 2000
  • Second lowest error factor in NL in 2000
  • Second highest triples factor in NL in 2000

 

  • Retired numbers: Richie Ashburn (1), Robin Roberts (36), Steve Carlton (32), Mike Schmidt (20) and Jim Bunning (14).
  • A "Liberty Bell" used to hang from center-field roof on fourth level - it was hit only once, by by Greg Luzinski, on May 16, 1972.

 

 

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