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)
Baker Bowl Postcard | Baseball Almanac Collection | 1917
Major League Occupant(s)
Baker Bowl Wall & Lifebuoy Sign | Library of Congress Collection | 1908
Ballpark Capacity & Seating Chart
Baker Bowl Dimensions | Art by There Used to Be a Ballpark ( Website )
Ballpark Diagram & Dimensions
Baker Bowl Fences | Library of Congress Photo | Photoshopped by Baseball Almanac
Miscellaneous Items of Interest
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.
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?