Baker Bowl

The History of Baker Bowl

The Baker Bowl. Philadelphia Park. The Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds. National League Park. Known by various names during its rich history, the Baker Bowl was officially National League Park, and it served as the home stadium for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1887 to mid-1938. William F. Baker was the Phillies' owner from 1913 to 1930, and National League Park gradually became more widely known as the Baker Bowl.

The Baker Bowl was located on a rectangular block in Northern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The right field line ran parallel to Huntingdon Street. Right field to center field ran parallel to Broad Street. Center field to left field ran parallel to Lehigh Avenue. The left field line ran parallel to 15th Street.

On August 6, 1894, less than eight years after opening, the original ballpark nearly burnt to the ground [newspaper story at bottom]. Built at a cost of $101,000, with a seating capacity for 12,500 fans, the wooden stands were destroyed, forcing patrons to sit in temporary seats for the rest of the season. The outside walls were built entirely from brick, a first in ballpark history, and were saved from the destruction, and used during the re-construction.

On May 2, 1895, the second Baker Bowl was dedicated, standing precisely were it stood before, but this time there were seats for 18,800 fans, and several architectural improvements, most notably, cantilevered concrete supports, which virtually eliminated obstructed view seating.

Having learned a terrible lesson, the double-decked grandstand was built of brick, concrete, and steel, to prevent future fires. Three wide steel stairways connected the two decks, with fifteen 30-foot iron girders supporting the upper deck and roof.

"Suddenly (due to teenage girls screaming at two drunk men who were fighting below), jammed with an immense, vibrating weight, a hundred feet or more of balcony tore itself loose from the wall, and the crowd was hurled headlong to the pavement. Those who felt themselves falling grasped those behind and they in turn held onto others. Behind were thousands still pushing up to see what was happening. In the twinkling of an eye the street was piled four deep with bleeding, injured, shrieking humanity struggling amid the piling debris." - The Philadelphia Inquirer (Staff Writer, August 8, 1903)
The Baker Bowl
1887 - 1938

The Baker Bowl

Baker Bowl Postcard | Baseball Almanac Collection | 1917

Major League Occupant(s)

Data
Architect
John D. Allen

First Regular Season Game

04-30-1887
First Win
04-30-1887
First Loss
05-02-1887
First Shutout
05-04-1887
First No-Hitter
07-08-1898
First All-Star Game
None
First Night Game
None

Last Regular Season Game

The Baker Bowl
1887 - 1938

Baker Bowl Wall and Lifebuoy Sign

Baker Bowl Wall & Lifebuoy Sign | Library of Congress Collection | 1908

Ballpark Capacity & Seating Chart

Data

Capacity Changes
( Yearly Attendance )

1887 - 1894
12,500
1895 - 1928
18,000
1929 - 1929
20,000
1930 - 1938
18,800
The Baker Bowl
1887 - 1938

Baker Bowl Dimensions

Baker Bowl Dimensions | Art by There Used to Be a Ballpark ( Website )

Ballpark Diagram & Dimensions

Data

Backstop

1887 - 1938

60'

Left Field

1887 - 1921

335'

1922 - 1926
341'
1927 - 1938
341.5'

Center Field

1887 - 1938

408'

Right Field

1887 - 1921

272'

1922 - 1926
279'

1927 - 1938

280'

The Baker Bowl
1887 - 1938

Baker Bowl Fences

Baker Bowl Fences | Library of Congress Photo | Photoshopped by Baseball Almanac

Miscellaneous Items of Interest

Data

Fences (LF)

1887 - 1895

4' Wood

Fences (LF)
1896 - 1938
12' Wood
Fences (CF)
1887 - 1938
35' Wood
Fences (RF | The Baker Wall)
1887 - 1938
40' Wood

Field Surfaces

1887 - 1938

Grass

The Baker Bowl | Research by Baseball Almanac, Inc.



The 1915 World Series was played in the Baker Bowl and during Game 2 ( October 9, 1915 ), President Wilson attended and threw out the ceremonial first pitch - the first time a sitting president had ever attended a World Series game!

The Baker Wall in right field was only 280-feet away from home plate, but stood 60-feet high! By comparison, the Green Monster in Fenway Park is 310-feet away from home plate, and stands 37-feet high. No player ever hit a home run over the clubhouse in center field, but Rogers Hornsby once hit a dinger that went through a window in the wall.

On June 9, 1914, a visiting player from the Pittsburgh Pirates hit his 3,000th career hit [ 3,000 Hits Club ] in the Baker Bowl. Do you know who it was? [ Answer ]
Baker Bowl Fire
Baker Bowl Fire | Delphos Daily Herald | August 7, 1894
Did you know that Babe Ruth played in his last major league regular season baseball game of his career - in the Baker Bowl, on May 30, 1935 (he went 0-for-1)? Too easy? Did you know that the day prior [ Box Score ], also in the Baker Bowl, Ruth scored his final run, drove in his last run, and walked twice?
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