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Hilldale Park

 

Situated in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, Hilldale Park served as home for various Negro League teams from 1910 to 1932.  Some of the greatest players in the history of black baseball, including John Henry Pop Lloyd and Oscar Charleston, called Hilldale Park home during that period.  Lloyd, the finest shortstop ever to play in the Negro Leagues, drew comparisons to the great Honus Wagner during his playing days, while some Negro League historians consider Charleston to be the greatest all-around player they ever saw.

 

Although the turnstiles at Hilldale Park remained in motion for more than two decades, attendance at the stadium reached its height from 1923 to 1929, a period during which the Philadelphia Hilldales (also known as the Hilldale Giants) played their home games at this historic ballpark.  Philadelphia was among the circuit's premier teams throughout that period, thereby making Hilldale Park the site of several classic encounters.  The Hilldales battled the Kansas City Monarchs in the inaugural Negro League World Series in 1924, with the Monarchs prevailing in the 10-game series.  However, led by catcher Raleigh "Biz" Mackey and future Hall-of-Fame third baseman Judy Johnson, Philadelphia defeated Kansas City in the following year's World Series.  Mackey had three hits, including a home run, during the Hilldales' 5-2 victory in the sixth and deciding game.

 

Hilldale Park's dimensions were 370 feet down the right field foul line, 400 feet to center field, and a mere 315 feet down the left field foul line.  A large tree stood in center field, its branches looming over the fence.  Any ball that struck those branches was considered to be in play.

 

On October 14, 2006, the former site of Hilldale Park was dedicated as a Pennsylvania historical marker.  Luminaries in attendance for the ceremony included Philadelphia Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson, former Phillies centerfielder Garry Maddox, and Phillies Director of Community Relations Gene Dias.  Four living members of the Negro League's Philadelphia Stars also attended the festivities: Bill Cash, Mahlon Duckett, Stanley Glenn, and Harold Gould.  Local businessman John Bossong led the effort for the historical marker, which was titled "The Hilldale Athletic Club (The Darby Daisies)."  The text reads:

 

            This baseball team, whose home was here at Hilldale Park, won the Eastern Colored League championship three times and the 1925 Negro League World Series.  Darby fielded Negro League teams from 1910 to 1932.  Notable players included Baseball Hall Of Fame members Pop Lloyd, Judy Johnson, Martin Dihigo, Joe Williams, Oscar Charleston, Ben Taylor, Biz Mackey, and Louis Santop.  Owner Ed Bolden helped form the Eastern Colored League.

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Tagged:
Eastern Colored League, Hilldale Daisies, Negro Leagues

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