Nov 7, 2012

Original Heritage: 2001 Topps Heritage Grandstand Glory Robin Roberts

This is an authentic stadium seat piece (or at least the card front says so) from the previous previous stadium in Philadelphia. It was even from a name and time when Philadelphia had two sports teams.  The name Shibe Park elicits times when Connie Mack wore a hat and suit and when Jimmie Foxx mashed (wait, wrong team, let's try that again).  The name Shibe Park elicits times when Richie Ashburn roamed centerfield and Hugh Mulcahy received the nickname "Losing Pitcher" and when the team got sold because the owner gambled....I  guess the Phillies history in Shibe Park wasn't that great for most of the time it was called Shibe Park.

Shibe Park was built in 1909 and was the first steel and concrete stadium in the business.  It served as the home of the Athletics principally, and then the Phillies joined there in 1938 upon the abandonment of the Baker Bowl.  At this point in their histories, none of the franchises were particularly ascendant.  The Phillies were in the 5th year of a 16 year streak being under .500, and the Athletics were in the middle of a streak of their own with 9 straight 8th or 7th place finishes.  Why not share a stadium and see what happens...there's less overhead for everyone??

The Phillies began their turnaround in 1949, just as Connie Mack was about to hang up his hat after 50 years  as the manager/owner.  This was fortuitous for the Phillies because even though they were the less successful of the two franchises through league history, they held their heads above water enough to become first banana in the city at the right time.  Connie Mack retired, the A's moved to Kansas City after the 1954 season, and Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium during that interim period.

This seat piece could be from either era of the stadium, but the fact that it can potentially connect back to the Philadelphia A's of both Home Run Baker and Lefty Grove as well as the Whiz Kid Phillies of Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn brings the history of Philadelphia sports into focus.

This was also from the first Topps Heritage set of 2001, and gave collectors a different part of the past than they had before.  A stadium seat piece, though impersonal on its face, is an interesting idea, especially for defunct, no longer existing stadiums.

I guess my next collection quest is to get a seat from all the Phillies stadiums.  Imagine how the wooden bench of Shibe Park would look next to the blue plastic seats of Veterans Stadium (I remember sitting in brown seats or orange seats also).  It's much better than a couch to watch a ballgame in the summer.....the dreams have already begun.

1 comment:

Fuji said...

Cool card. I'm definitely one of those collectors who have buried my head and pretended never to hear any of the fake relic drama... especially when cards look as sweet as your Robin Roberts.