Phillies and Orioles in Wilmington, March 20, 1913

CFM 1985.016.0003
Gift of Richard A. Wells and Patricia Ann Wells

Description: This black-and-white photograph has the words “Philadelphia Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, Wilmington, N.C. March 20th 1913., Compliments of Fidelity Trust & Development Co.” written in white on the dark cardboard mat. It shows baseball teams at the entrance to the Sunset Park neighborhood. It measures about 11 x 13 3/4 inches.

History: In March 1913, Wilmington played host to a Philadelphia vs. Baltimore Orioles exhibition game. That year the Phillies held spring training in Southern Pines and the Orioles were in Fayetteville. On March 20, amid much fanfare, the teams came to Wilmington. They were met by the mayor, members of the Chamber of Commerce, and the Elks Lodge. After the game, which the Philadelphia team won 5-1, the Elks hosted a barbecue for players. Local dignitaries wanted to bring the Phillies spring training to Wilmington. And they succeeded in doing so.

The following spring, the Phillies trained in Wilmington. The team arrived in February during a snowstorm. Apparently, despite the enthusiasm of the Mayor for the team, townspeople often rooted against the Phillies during exhibition games. On top of that, the Phillies performed poorly in the 1914 regular season. Perhaps these events combined to steer the team away from Wilmington, and in 1915 the team held their spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida. That year they won the National League Championship and went to the World Series, where they lost to the Boston Red Sox.

The Philadelphia Phillies have held their annual spring training in Clearwater, Florida, since 1947. But before then the team went to a number of different places to warm up in the preseason. One of those places was Wilmington.

 

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