FirstEnergy Stadium

From BR Bullpen

Reading-Tornadic Storm Approach.jpg

FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, PA, is the home of the Reading Fightin Phils, the Philadelphia Phillies' Eastern League farm team. The league's oldest park (by 36 years!) opened as Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium in 1951.

The venerable yard also hosts the Fightins' annual (U.S. Route) 222 exhibition with their Triple-A Philly farm-mates, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, in alternating years.

Promoted as "Baseballtown" and "America's Classic Ballpark", it is reminiscent - or is that "preminiscent"? - of "downtown retro" parks. It's the first U.S. baseball stadium to draw 10 million fans while hosting only Double-A or lower clubs. In its 65th season, it twice topped its one-game gate record.

MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization facilities standards left it at risk, briefly, but team ownership, the city and state quickly worked out one of the first deals to keep baseball in ballparks that were so affected. Work is expected to start in September 2022.

The ballpark was home to the Reading Indians from 1952 through 1961. In 1963 and 1964, the Reading Red Sox played there, and the Tribe returned for the 1965 season. The farm franchise finally achieved stability and continuity when the nearby Philadelphia Phillies became the parent in 1967. They have remained so ever since, with the only significant changes being when they bought their farm club in 2008 and when it changed nicknames in 2012.

In 1999, the ballpark's original name - Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium - was abandoned when naming rights were sold to GPU Inc., which dubbed it GPU Stadium. FirstEnergy and GPU merged in 2001, so the park was renamed again the next season.

In 2002, FirstEnergy Stadium became the first ballpark to win digitalballparks.com[1]'s annual Ballpark of the Year Award.

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Current ballparks in the Eastern League
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Dunkin' Donuts Park | FirstEnergy Stadium | Hadlock Field | Mirabito Stadium | Northeast Delta Dental Stadium | TD Bank Ballpark Canal Park | The Diamond | FNB Field | Peoples Natural Gas Field | Prince George's Stadium | UPMC Park