We’re approaching baseball’s All-Star Game, yet this post is about a bowl. There are famous sports venues called bowls, such as the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Yale Bowl, and probably others.
Certainly the Baker Bowl doesn’t fit into the celebrated nature of those venues. Heck, it’s not best known as a football venue, yet it’s certainly shaped for football and it hosted the Eagles from 1933-1935. It was a long-time baseball home that never hosted an All-Star Game, but was the venue for the first U.S. President (Woodrow Wilson) to see a World Series game.
Originally named National League Park and nicknamed the Huntington Street Grounds, the Baker Bowl served as Philadelphia Phillies home for 51 ½ years (1887-1938). Eventually named for the Phillies owner, bowl was used because Baker Field was associated with Columbia University.
The Baker Bowl was cozy and great for hitters, thus commonly referred to as a band box or cigar box. 1930 produced some unreal numbers. In the 77-game home schedule, opponents outscored the Phillies 644-543; that’s an average score of a bit more than 8-7!
This stadium had its oddities.
- A hump in centerfield due to a railroad tunnel below
- Using goats to keep the grass cut
- The 60 ft right field wall and screen a mere 280 down the right field line
- A wide, banked CF warning track that served bicycle races
- A centerfield clubhouse known as one with just the basics
In a 1938 mid-season transfer, the Phillies shifted to Shibe Park – the new facility built just 5 blocks away to house the A’s and the home the most long-time fans associated with the Phillies. (See the Baker Bowl in the foreground?)
Watch the animated tour of the Baker Bowl.
Drawing from The Pinetar Rag
Photos from Wikipedia