09/28/2003 3:22 PM ET
Phillies share Vet memories
PHILADELPHIA -- The memories are long for anyone who grew up in the vicinity of Broad and Pattison and spent a few hours at a time within its concrete hallways.
They are perhaps even longer for those who wore Phillies pinstripes, or made Veterans Stadium their daily workplace, i.e. players, coaches, front office personnel, ushers.
Even in the unlimited world of the Internet space, all the memories can't possibly be printed here, so what follows is a sample:
Mike Schmidt: "The stadium served us well in Philadelphia, but it's time to move. I remember what a thrill it was coming in for the first time and looking at this place. There were gigantic locker rooms. Geez, it was like a gigantic flying saucer. You were talking about 60,000 people coming in here. When you were on that field and every seat was filled, everybody should have that experience, feel that adrenaline kicking in. It was a great part of my life. But like everything else, you get older and you have to move on.
"Probably all the guys on the '80 team would say Game 6 was their fondest memory."
"I don't think every memory I have of the Vet is what I would consider a fond one. I had some real down times related to Veterans Stadium. It's not the stadium's fault, obviously. It's part of growing. I lived in this stadium in the winter, too, working out and hanging out with the Eagles. This was my second home when I was in Philadelphia.
"We had some very disappointing losses over the years. The late '70s when we failed to win the NLCS championships.
"I remember standing at third base during the National Anthem and seeing a guy on fire. The fireworks backfired and the guy caught fire and he was running for his life across the top of the Vet during the National Anthem. That's ingrained in my mind. I remember doing a commercial here until four in the morning."
Larry Bowa: "To see a team in the early '70's get the crap beat out of them to eventually win it all in '80 was great.
Bowa also has the distinction of getting the first hit at the Vet, "a single to right-center field."
Brandon Duckworth: "It's going to be tough to see a place where you made your debut (on Aug. 7, 2001) -- something you worked your whole life for -- be gone."
Mike Lieberthal: "It will be special because of how many games I've caught behind the plate. I'll just miss getting into the [batter's] box here. I have so many memories, especially the pinch-hit home run against Pittsburgh, when we came from seven runs behind. Catching [Kevin] Millwood's no-hitter."
Mike Williams: "I'll always remember my first big-league start was at the Vet. Your debut is pretty special. I remember every pitch."
Joe Kerrigan: (Grew up in Philadelphia. Graduated from Father Judge High School and attended Temple University) "My first experience at Veterans Stadium was playing in the Catholic League championship game in June of 1971. When I was at Temple, I went to 20 to 25 games a year, including every playoff game in '76, '77 and '78. I was here a lot as a fan in the stands, as a player on the field, and as a coach."
Kerrigan was there on June 25, 1971, the night Willie Stargell hit the ball that is still going.
"It's all we talked about around the playground for the next few weeks. The thing I remember most was the buzz and laughter in the stands. Two innings later, people couldn't believe a man could hit a ball as high as we were sitting."
Greg Luzinski: "My first home run here was in the Upper Deck off Reggie Cleveland. One of my biggest memories was the last out of the World Series, and the playoff game against Houston here when I hit the home run off Bob Forsch. The All-Star here (in 1976) was something to remember.
It's hard to believe that in February it's going to be a parking lot. When I played here the seats were different, now they're blue. I will take nothing from here but the memories.
Juan Samuel: "It's kind of weird. I played a lot of games here, but sometimes it's time. The new parks are the thing."
Jim Bunning: "I wanted to start that first game [at The Vet], because I knew the park would be here a long time after I was [done playing]. It meant a lot to me. I thought we could win and get off to a good start. That was a great memory and a great day."
Ed Deal: Press Box assistant. "I remember coming the night that President Nixon resigned [Aug. 8, 1974], I came as a diversion because I knew it was going to happen. It was a moment of crisis for our country and I remember trying to get away. I brought my little son."
Paul Hagen, Philadelphia Daily News: "The 1993 postseason, the night they clinched with Mitch Williams jumping in the air. That 1993 team will always stand out for me. It was a really interesting bunch of players with a lot of personality. In 1980, I covered the World Series [for the Dallas Times Herald] and I can't remember that much emotion from one World Series."
General manager Ed Wade: It was Feb. 1, 1977. I was Larry Shenk's intern in public relations. It was the start of the greatest baseball season of my life. I made $2.50 an hour. In between all that, I met my wife and went to the playoffs. Then nine months later, I got my first full-time job with the Astros.
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Tim McCarver: "It was a lot bigger than Connie Mack. Every part of it. The locker room is four times the size. Twelve showers, not three. We thought it was state of the art and it was."
Tug McGraw: "I still go 'Wooo' I got him one more time. He ain't never going to hit that ball. I did a dance and Schmitty drifted over, but he was later. [Bob Boone] was late, too. We knew we were going to win Game 6 that night. [Steve Carlton] Lefty was the hill. Nobody even considered a seventh game."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball
or its clubs.