Statues around Philadelphia, Part Three


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Several statues in Philadelphia honor local residents who have contributed to the development of the city. While these individuals may be associated with a particular neighborhood or community, their statues did not always remain in that location over the course of several decades.

One such statue is that of Connie Mack, a professional baseball manager who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. Born on December 22, 1862 in East Brookfield, Massachusetts, Mack played professional baseball as a catcher but became more famous as the long-time manager of the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901 to 1950. During his tenure as manager, the A’s won five World Series championships. Mack retired at the age of 88 and died on February 8, 1956.

In 1953, Shibe Park, at one time the home stadium of the Philadelphia Athletics and later the Philadelphia Phillies, was renamed Connie Mack Stadium in honor of Connie Mack. The stadium was torn down in 1976. In 1957, artist Harry Rosin sculpted a statue of Connie Mack entitled “Mr. Baseball.” Originally located outside Connie Mack Stadium at Lehigh Avenue and 20th Street, the statue was moved to the entrance of Veteran’s Stadium in 1971 and remained there until that stadium was torn down in 2004. The statue is now located outside Citizens Bank Park.

A statue honoring Anthony J. Drexel, founder of Drexel University, has also moved locations several times. Born in 1826, Drexel became a highly successful banker and financier. With his profits, Drexel supported several charities and founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry in 1891. The dedication of the Institute on December 17, 1891 was attended by Levi Morton, the Vice-President of the United States, as well as several generals, senators, and other wealthy bankers and industrialists. At the time of the dedication, Drexel had already given $1,500,000 for the establishment of the school.

Drexel died on June 30, 1893 and was buried in The Woodlands cemetery in Philadelphia. On June 17, 1905, a bronze statue of Drexel, sculpted by Sir Moses Ezekiel, was unveiled in Fairmount Park. The statue was moved to 33rd and Market on the 75th anniversary of Drexel University and then moved in 2003 to its current location at 32nd and Market Street.


Sources:

[1] “Connie Mack.” The Hall of Famers. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers/detail.jsp?playerId=118082

[2] “Drexel University Legends and Traditions.” Drexel University. http://www.drexel.edu/CreeseStudentCenter/infodesk/legendsandtraditions.html

[3] “Mr. Baseball.” Philadelphia Public Art @philart.net. http://www.philart.net/exhibit.php?id=1

[4] The New York Times. “Drexel Statue in Philadelphia.” June 18, 1905. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9902E0D7133EE733A2575BC1A9609C946497D6CF

[5] The New York Times. “Mr. Drexel’s Noble Work. December 18, 1891. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C0CE1D8133AE533A2575BC1A9649D94609ED7CF

[6] “The Tall Tactician.” Today in History: December 22. The Library of Congress – American Memory. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/today/dec22.html

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