VETERANS MEMORIAL STADIUM

3501 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19148

Broke ground October 2, 1967
Opened April 10, 1971
Closed September 28, 2003
Demolished March 21, 2004

Owner City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Operator Philadelphia Department of Recreation

Surface -AstroTurf (1971–2000)
-NexTurf (2001–2003)
Construction cost US$50 million

Architect Hugh Stubbins and Associates
Capacity -Baseball — 62,306
-Football — 65,386

Field dimensions Baseball:
Left field — 330 feet (100 metres)
Left center field — 371 feet (113 metres)
Center field — 408 feet (124 metres)
Right center field — 371 feet (113 metres)
Right field — 330 feet (100 metres)
Backstop — 54 feet (16 metres) (2003)

Tenants
Philadelphia Phillies (MLB) (1971-2003)
Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) (1971–2002)
Philadelphia Atoms (NASL) (1973–1975)
Philadelphia Fury (NASL) (1978–1980)
Philadelphia Stars (USFL) (1983–1984)
Temple University (NCAA) (1978–2002)


On March 21, 2004, the 33-year-old stadium was imploded in a record-setting sixty-two seconds. Frank Bardonaro, President of Philadelphia-based AmQuip Crane Rental Company pressed the "charge" button and then he and Nick Peetros, project manager for Driscoll/Hunt Construction Company, simultaneously pressed the plunger to trigger the implosion while Greg Luzinski and the Phillie Phanatic, the Phillies' mascot, pressed an imaginary plunger for the fans. A parking lot for the current sporting facilities was constructed in 2004 and 2005 at the site.

The stadium was the home field for the Philadelphia Atoms and the Philadelphia Fury, both North American Soccer League teams. The Fury drew 18,191 fans for their April 1, 1978, opener at the stadium which they lost 3-0 to the Washington Diplomats. The Fury averaged 8,279 per-match in 1978 NASL, 5,624 per-match in 1979 NASL, and 4,778 in the 1980 NASL seasons. The club was moved to Montreal in 1981 NASL season.

The stadium hosted an August 2, 1991, exhibition soccer match between the U.S. National Team and English professional soccer club Sheffield Wednesday. Wednesday featured John Harkes, the first American to play in the English Premier League. 44,261 fans saw the U.S. score two second-half goals to defeat Wednesday 2 to 0

 

Philadelphia Veterans Stadium (informally called "The Vet") was a professional-sports, multi-purpose stadium, It housed the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles from 1971 through 2002 and the National League's Philadelphia Phillies baseball team from 1971 through 2003. The 1976 and 1996 Major League Baseball All-Star Games were held at the venue. The Vet also hosted the annual Army-Navy football game seventeen times, first in 1976 and last in 2001.

As early as 1959, Phillies owner Bob Carpenter proposed building a new ballpark for the Phillies on 72-acres adjacent to the Garden State Park Racetrack in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Connie Mack Stadium was 50-years old, did not have sufficient parking, and the sale of alcohol was banned at sports venues in Pennsylvania. Beer sales were legal in New Jersey. The proposed ballpark would have sat 45,000 fans, been expandable to 60,000, and would have had 15,000 parking spaces. Philadelphians remembered the move of the Philadelphia Athletics to Kansas City, Missouri, after the 1954 season, and did not want to lose another professional sports franchise. In 1964, Philadelphia voters approved a US$25-million-bond issue for a new stadium to replace the dilapidated Shibe Park (opened in 1909 and later also known as Connie Mack Stadium) and Franklin Field (opened in 1895). Because of cost overruns, the voters had to go to the polls again in 1967 to approve another $13 million. At a total cost of $50 million[clarification needed], it was one of the most-expensive ballparks to date.

The Phillies played their first game at the stadium on Saturday, April 10, 1971, beating the Montreal Expos, 4–1, before an audience of 55,352. Jim Bunning (named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996) was the winning pitcher while Bill Stoneman took the loss. Boots Day opened the game by grounding out to Bunning. Larry Bowa had the stadium's first hit and Don Money slugged the first home run.

The final football game played at the stadium was the Eagles' 27–10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the National Football Conference championship game on January 19, 2003. The Eagles moved into Lincoln Financial Field in August 2003. The final game ever played at the stadium was the afternoon of September 28, 2003, during which the Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves

The "700 Level" referred to the seats in the upper deck of Veterans Stadium. Usually the most rowdy fans were there, especially at Philadelphia Eagles games and to a lesser extent Philadelphia Phillies games. In his book If Football's a Religion, Why Don't We Have a Prayer? Jereé Longman described the 700 Level as having a reputation for "hostile taunting, fighting, public urination and general strangeness." Due to an improvement in facilities, there is no equivalent in either Lincoln Financial Field or Citizens Bank Park

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One of the most notable events in the stadium's history was Game 6 of the 1980 World Series on Oct. 21. In that game, the Phillies clinched their first world championship with a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals in front of 65,838 fans. Tug McGraw's series-ending strikeout of the Royals' Willie Wilson was instrumental in their win.

The Phillies pitched two no-hit games at the stadium, the only nine-inning no-hitters in stadium history. Both were against the San Francisco Giants. Terry Mulholland pitched the first on August 15, 1990, in a 6–0 Phillies win.Kevin Millwood pitched the second on April 27, 2003 and beat the Giants 1–0, upstaging the Phillie Phanatic's Birthday promotion that afternoon. The Montréal Expos' Pascual Pérez pitched a five-inning no-hitter shortened by rain on September 24, 1988. MLB changed its rules in 1991 to require that fully-recognized no-hitters - past, present and future - be a complete game of at least nine innings

A very notable football game played at the stadium took place less than three months after the Phillies' title: the Eagles' 20–7 victory over the hated Dallas Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship Game, played on January 11, 1981, in front of 70,696 fans. This contest was famous because the Eagles chose to wear their white jerseys for their home game in order to force the Cowboys into their "unlucky" blue jerseys. At the end of the game, Philadelphia police circled the field with horses and dogs as they had done for the Phillies World Series victory; despite the police presence, Eagles fans successfully rushed the field