It’s opening day for the Reading Fightin Phils! Which means it’s time for a flashback to early 1960s Municipal Field, home of the Reading Indians.
In 1952, the Wilkes-Barre Indians, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians relocated to Reading to become the Reading Indians. The Reading Indians played at Municipal Memorial Stadium for the next decade, capturing the league title in 1957. Several Indians went on to successful major-league careers, including Rocky Colavito and Roger Maris. The Reading Indians franchise relocated to Charleston, West Virginia in 1961 to become the Charleston Indians, Reading was without professional baseball for that year.
For the 1962 season, the Williamsport Grays moved to Reading and became the second Reading Red Sox team, serving as a Boston Red Sox affiliate for two years, owned by Joe Buzas. The new Reading Red Sox relocated to Pittsfield, Massachusetts and were renamed Pittsfield Red Sox (this Eastern League franchise was later the New Britain Rock Cats and is now the Hartford Yard Goats).
The Cleveland Indians relocated the Charleston Indians back to Reading after the Reading Red Sox relocated to Pittsfield, the Charleston Indians was once again known as the Reading Indians for one more year before relocating again. Reading was without a baseball team in 1966 before a new Eastern League expansion franchise was established in Reading in 1967 which became known as the Reading Phillies. –Wikipedia
Municipal Stadium hosted it’s first baseball game in 1951.
On March 28, 1945, Reading City Council voted unanimously to purchase 27 acres of ground known as Cathedral Heights at a cost of $64,491 for the purpose of building a municipal stadium. In 1947 the grading of the land began and by 1949 the initial stages of construction could be seen. With a final price tag of $656,674, the stadium was completed on April 15, 1951. Named in honor of the service men and women who gave their lives for our country, Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium was dedicated on July 15 that same year.
The stadium was originally known as Reading Municipal-Memorial Stadium before corporate sponsorship resulted in its current name.
Mike Schmidt made his professional debut at the ballpark on June 17, 1971 in an exhibition game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Reading Phillies. The Phillies had signed Schmidt on June 11. In the exhibition game, Schmidt played the whole game at shortstop for the Phillies and hit the game-winning home run against Reading.
On July 13, 1977, The Reading Municipal Stadium hosted a concert by the band Chicago. To date, this was the only major entertainment event held at the 9,000-seat facility.
Prior to Municipal Stadium, Reading’s professional baseball teams played at Lauer’s Park. – Source
In 1989, Municipal Stadium underwent the renovations for new seating, grandstand and a roof overhead. Since the early 90s, many food stands have been added, along with pavilions and a face-lift to the exterior front to modernize the park. By the time the mid-2000s rolled around, there was a pool, various weight rooms and other picnic areas added.
The two black & white photos above were taken by my Grandfather, sometime in the 50s or 60s.
George Field is located at 1801 North 5t Street. I cannot find an exact date for when this stadium was built, but the front gates say, “Class of 1914”. One can assume it was around then. For football games It was replaced by the newer stadium right behind the school for in 1938. Though it is still used for baseball games, from little league to Reading High Games. Anyone have more information on the history of George Field?
A 1938 article about it being replaced by a newer field behind the the High School: