Veterans Stadium opened 50 years ago this April 10 on a cloudy, chilly Saturday afternoon. Box seats were priced at $4.25. The multi-purpose stadium with an AstroTurf playing surface wound up as home of the Phillies and Eagles for 33 years.
The design appeared to be circular, but it really was an "octorad,” incorporating four arcs of a large circle and four arcs of a smaller circle to round out the corners. Other “cookie-cutter” stadia of the era were circular or oval.
The Vet was the site of the World Series in 1980, 1983 and 1993; All-Star Games in 1976 and 1996; NFC Championship Games in 1981 and 2003 and 17 Army-Navy football games.
More than 66 million fans attended Phillies games during the 33 years.
• Ceremonial first ball was dropped from a helicopter and caught by catcher Mike Ryan.
• Game: April 10, 1971. Phillies 4, Expos 1; 55,352 fans, largest Philadelphia baseball crowd ever.
• Winning manager: Frank Lucchesi, also winner of final game at Connie Mack Stadium.
• Winning pitcher: Jim Bunning, his 220th career victory. At 39 he was the oldest starting pitcher in the Majors.
• Save: Joe Hoerner.
• Batter: Montreal CF Boots Day, grounded back to Bunning.
• Hit: Single by SS Larry Bowa, 1st inning.
• Run: Montreal 2B Ron Hunt, 6th inning.
• Home run: 3B Don Money, 6th inning.
• The game was also the first for a new Phillies broadcaster, Harry Kalas.
• Game: Sunday, Sept. 28, 2003. Atlanta 5, Phillies 2, 11,859 days after the first game. 58,554 attendance.
• Hit: Single, LF Pat Burrell, 9th inning.
• Home Run: 1B Jim Thome, Sept. 27, 2003.
• Winning pitcher: Braves' Greg Maddux.
• Batter: Chase Utley.
Kiteman had the most Opening Day acts, with five ... Karl Wallenda twice walked across the Vet on a high wire ... Phillie Phanatic made his debut in 1978 ... 16 Old-Timers Games were held between 1970-90.
Phillies' record: 1,415-1,199, 3 ties ... Division titles: 1976-77-78; 1980-81; 1983; 1993 ... National League pennants: 1980, 1983, 1993 ... World Series championship: 1980 ... Most home runs, career: Mike Schmidt, 265 ... Most wins, career: Steve Carlton, 138-62.
Pete Rose broke Stan Musial’s NL career record for hits in 1981 ... Carlton recorded his 3,000th career strikeout in 1981 ... Schmidt held his retirement press conference at home plate in 1988 ... Ceremonies to retire uniform numbers were held for Richie Ashburn (1), Carlton (32), Schmidt (20) and Bunning (14) ... Closer Mitch Williams got a game-winning hit at 4:40 a.m. in 1993 ... Two Phillies pitchers threw no-hitters: Terry Mulholland in 1990 and Kevin Millwood in 2003.
The stadium, which took four years to build, was imploded in just 62 seconds on March 21, 2004.