On Sunday night I took the Ballpark Nerd family to Baseball Town, Reading, PA, for an Eastern League matchup between the Altoona Curve, AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Reading Fightin Phils, AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Fightin Phils currently sport the best record in pro baseball, 76-38, and are preparing for a postseason playoff run behind sluggers Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens who have hit a combined 66 home runs through August 9th.
The Fightin Phils make their home at FirstEnergy Stadium, the oldest ballpark in the Eastern League. Built in 1951 FirstEnergy Stadium hosted minor league affiliates for the Cleveland Indians 1951-1961, 1965 and the Boston Red Sox 1963-1964 before the Phillies came on board for the 1967 season. The ballpark’s history is chronicled with photos throughout the concourse honoring well-known players who spent time in Reading on their way to the Show. Notable recent Phillies farm hands include 2006 NL MVP Ryan Howard, 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels. Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Ryne Sandberg, who was traded to the Cubs, also played for Reading. The most unique feature of FirstEnergy Stadium is the Fightin Phils clubhouse that is not connected to the team’s dugout. Players wait for a security guard to stop traffic on the concourse before walking over. [Read more…]