For more than three decades Veterans Stadium (AKA "The Vet") was home to Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies and The National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles. Primarily known for two things, its rowdy fans and terrible playing field, Veterans Stadium hosted some iconic personalities and historic events between it's opening day on April 10th, 1971 and it's last game on September 28th, 2003.
Backstory and Context
Opened: April 10th, 1971
Closed: September 28th, 2003
Demolished: March 21st, 2004
1976 and 1996 MLB All Star games
1980, 1983 and 1993 World Series
9 inning no-hitter, April 27th 2003 (Kevin Millwood)
17 Army/Navy collegiate football games between 1980 and 2001.
An estimated 500ft home run off the bat of Greg Luzinski.
Philadelphia Phillie MLB Hall of Famers who played in the VET:
Joe Morgan, 1983
Tony Perez, 1983
Ryne Sandberg, 1981
Mike Schmidt, 1972-1989
Jim Bunning, 1964-1971
Steve Carlton, 1972-1986
Philadelphia Eagles NFL Hall of Famers who played in the Vet:
Cris Carter, 1987-1989
Richard Dent, 1997
Claude Humphrey, 1979-1981
James Lofton, 1993
Other notable achievements:
Steve Carlton won the MLB CY Young award, 1972, 77, 80 and 82.
Mike Schmidt won the MLB League MVP in 1980 and 1981
In 1952 a $7 million multipurpose stadium was proposed to be built for both the Phillies and Eagles on 72 acres in downtown Philadelphia. It took over 19 years for a new stadium to be constructed. A $25 million bond was approved by the voters in 1964 and a new location for the facility in South Philadelphia was chosen in 1966. On October 2, 1967 ground was broken for the new stadium, named Veterans Stadium paying homage to all veterans; past, present and future. Veterans Stadium was originally scheduled to open in the Spring of 1970 but was delayed primarily due to bad weather, labor union strikes and construction delays.
On opening day (April 10th, 1971), future MLB Hall of Famer Jim Bunning led the Phillies to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Expos before a crowd of 55,352.
Veterans Stadium was located in a colossal sports complex. Highways and parking lots surrounded the massive structure. To enter the stadium, fans had to walk up long ramps in order to arrive at the entrance gates. Once inside this gigantic stadium, fans saw artificial turf and a sea of red, yellow and orange seats. The 100-300 level of seats were accessed from the main level upon entering Veterans Stadium. Patrons could also walk down ramps to access the 100 and 200 levels of seats.
When configured for baseball, The Vet held 62,362 fans. As seen in the accompanying pictures, the 100 and 200 levels of seats extended from the left field foul pole to home plate and around to the right field foul pole. The other levels of seats at the stadium circled the entire playing field. The press and club level seating was between the main and upper decks of the stadium.
In the 1970s, decorative fountains were located between the scoreboards and would spew at various times during the game. By the 1980s the fountains were removed and a new $4 million "Phanvision" video/scoreboard was added. In 1986 two new scoreboards were added at the top of the upper deck in the outfield and new luxury skyboxes were added below the stadium roof around the stadium. A replica of the Liberty Bell was located on the stadium roof in center field. The multicolored seats were replaced with blue seats after the 1994 season.
Throughout the long and illustrious history of the stadium it was notorious for having the worst playing surface in both the NFL and MLB. Over the course of its existence the playing surface was replaced six times in efforts to improve it. Even with the improvements the turf was considered to be a major contributing factor in many injuries.
On September 28, 2003 the last game was played at the stadium. The Phillies hosted the Atlanta Braves. On March 21, 2004, Veterans Stadium was demolished. The Eagles took residence at Lincoln Financial Field in the Fall of 2003 and the Phillies moved across the street into Citizens Bank Park in the Spring of 2004.