Field of Memories
Publication: Sep 05
7 x 10
A loving tribute to the home of some of Philadelphia's greatest sporting and cultural eventsRead the Foreword, Introduction, and Chapter 1 (pdf).
Veterans Stadium was the outdoor sports and concert capital of Philadelphia from 1971 until its televised demolition in 2004. At its best, “The Vet” spawned two of the greatest moments in the city's sports history—Tug McGraw's 1980 strikeout of Willie Wilson to win the World Series and the Eagles thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys to clinch their first Super Bowl bid. At its worst, it saw fans pelt Santa Claus with snowballs and the opening of an in-stadium branch of Philadelphia municipal court to deal with rowdy Eagles fans.
Part of a look-alike generation of all-purpose stadiums erected around the country, the Vet took on its own personality over the years. For all its deficiencies, it left fans loving it in the way they loved their own families —warts and all. Almost 100 photographs and Rich Westcott's yarns make Veterans Stadium the one book that will help Philadelphians—and Philadelphia visitors—remember thirty years of their history.
"As Rich Westcott notes, Veterans Stadium's demise was met with cheers in some quarters, and by nostalgic tears in others. Westcott covers virtually every aspect of the stadium's 33 years—from its conception, and construction, interviews with more than 125 people for whom the Vet was a prominent part of their professional and personal lives, and the two primary tenants of the stadium, Phillies baseball and Eagles football. Veterans Stadium is a special piece of historic nostalgia and it will be of significant interest to the sports-book reading public."
—Bob Bloss, author of Rookies of the Year
"Terrific... well researched... crammed with memories, some gaudy, some goofy, some grim."
—The Philadelphia Daily News
"(T)his book belongs on the great books list.... even if it doesn't make the great books list, it belong on the must read list for every Philadelphia sports fan."
—Philadelphia Public Record
"Rich Westcott has found the time to write another outstanding book, his seventeenth in a very prolific writing career... His book Veterans Stadium is a loving tribute to the home of some of Philadelphia's greatest sporting and cultural events, and the one book that will help Philadelphians remember its thirty year history."
Table of Contents
Foreword – Darren Daulton
1. The Long Trip to Completion
It took nearly 20 years to get a new stadium
2. It's Finally Opening Day
State-of-the-art facility draws rave reviews
3. Fair or Foul?
The Vet had both its supporters and its detractors
4. Phillies' Finest
The team's best 25 players at the Vet
5. The Greatest Moment
Nothing tops the last game of the 1980 World Series
6. Special Occasions
Over the years, there were many memorable games
7. Rarely a Dull Moment
Games were often accompanied by grand promotions
8. Ballpark Personalities
There were a number of familiar figures at Phillies games
9. Hitter Friendly
A good park for the long ball
10. Flying High, Flying Low
The Eagles had their ups and downs at the Vet
11. Last Stop Before the Super Bowl
Eagles beat Dallas in a memorable Vet game
12. Flaws in the Field
Artificial turf was a controversial subject
13. Behind the Scenes
The lowest level was one of the most important areas
14. Rooting for the Home Teams
There's no fan like a Philly sports fan
15. Best Seat in the House
The press box had both assets and liabilities
16. Multiple Uses
The Vet had Army-Navy games and many other events
17. The Final Year
A memorable era comes to an end
18. One Last Look
Firsts, lasts, and a few other facts and figures