Columbia Park

From BR Bullpen

Home of Philadelphia Athletics, 1901 to 1908

CAPACITY: 9,500 (1901), 13,600 (1905)

FIRST GAME: April 26, 1901, vs. Washington Senators (Senators 5, Athletics 1)

LAST GAME: October 3, 1908, vs. Boston Red Sox (Doubleheader)

LARGEST CROWD: 25,187 - September 30, 1905, vs. Chicago White Sox



Columbia Park was located in the Brewerytown area of Philadelphia, PA and was three miles northwest of Independence Hall. The ballpark occupied an entire square city block. The park was built of wood and had a single-decked, covered grandstand that formed a semicircle from first base to third base. Bleachers stretched along the foul lines, and a press box sat atop the grandstand roof. The park did not have dugouts, so players sat on benches on the sides of the field. It is sometimes referred as the second Columbia Park (or Columbia Park II) because the Philadelphia Centennials of the National Association used a ballpark with the same name for two months in 1875.

In 1902, the Athletics won the American League pennant and drew large crowds to Columbia Park. The following year, the Philadelphia Phillies finished their season here after part of the stands in their stadium, National League Park, collapsed. On October 9, 1905, almost 18,000 fans showed up here for a World Series game, but the Athletics lost the series in five games to the New York Giants. After the 1908 season, the Athletics left Columbia Park for new Shibe Park, and the park's sod was transplanted to the team's new home.

The Park's seating capacity was 13,600, although that number was exceeded by a considerable amount at various times. The field dimensions were not recorded in contemporary documents, but have been estimated from detailed maps and from the rare and photographs to have been 340 feet in left field, 396 in center and 280 in right. This made Columbia Park the smallest ballpark in the American League at the time. As a result, it depressed home runs (which were largely hit inside-the-park at the time, as this was the Deadball Era) and triples, although batting averages were high.

It was one of the few all-wooden parks of the era not to burn down. It was used by a circus after the Athletics moved out, and later the site was developed for commercial and residential properties.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Philip J. Lowry: "Columbia Park II", in Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of Major League and Negro League Ballparks, Society for American Baseball Research, Walker & Company, New York, NY, 2006, pp. 175-176. ISBN 978-0-8027-1562-3
  • Ron Selter: "Columbia Park II Philadelphia American League: 1901–08", in Morris Levin, ed.: From Swampoodle to South Philly: Baseball in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, The National Pastime, SABR, 2013, pp. 36-38.