Reading’s Big League Exhibition Games (Images of Baseball) by Brian C. Engelhardt (2015)
Reading’s Big League Exhibition Games
by Brian C. Engelhardt
Arcadia Publishing, 2015
The “Images of Baseball” series has featured some of baseball’s best major league teams, from the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates to the 1975 Boston Red Sox. In the latest entry in the series, a minor league town is the focus. Reading, Pennsylvania, is currently the host to the Philadelphia Phillies’ AA franchise. Prior to their affiliation with the Phillies, Reading served as a farm team for the Boston Red Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Cleveland Indians. A number of big-league stars made a stop in Reading before ascending to the top level of professional baseball, including Carl Furillo, Roger Maria, and Mike Schmidt.
The main thrust of this book, however, is not the minor leaguers who became stars, though they are certainly mentioned throughout. The main subject is the exhibition games featuring major leaguers. From 1874 through 1964, seventeen different franchises came to the town to play a semiprofessional or minor league club. From 1967 through 2000, the Philadelphia Phillies and Reading Phillies played 22 times, both teams winning ten and losing ten, while two games ended in a tie.
The photographs featured in Reading’s Big League Exhibition Games come from four principal sources: the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, Berks County History Center, Society for American Baseball Research member T. Scott Brandon’s personal collection, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Also included are box scores lifted from the pages of the Reading Eagle. The oldest box score is from May 21, 1875, when the Boston Red Stockings rolled over the Reading Actives, 27-11.
The final big league exhibition in Reading was played in 2000 between the AA team and the big league Phillies. Reading won 5-2 on a grand slam by Pete Rose Jr. The seven-inning game took an hour and 36 minutes to play, and drew a crowd of 9,307, according to the box score.
Though many of the photos featured in Reading’s Big League Exhibition Games were not actually taken in Reading, the collection is nicely put together with interesting commentary by author Brian C. Engelhardt.
Posted on August 28, 2015, in baseball, books, reviews and tagged Arcadia Publishing, Brian C. Engelhardt, Philadelphia Phillies, Reading Phillies, Reading's Big League Exhibition Games. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.