With 2018 marking the 15th season since the Philadelphia Phillies parted ways with their former Clearwater, Florida spring training home, Jack Russell Memorial Stadium, a lot has happened to the franchise since: the departure of four managers, a five-year postseason run, two consecutive National League pennants and the top prize, a World Series championship in 2008.
And yet, despite the Phillies now making new memories at its new spring facility, Spectrum Field, the club cannot ignore its roots and the Hall of Fame players that developed at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium.
The city of Clearwater and the Phillies will recognize this deep history on Friday, as they unveil a new Monument Park in a special ribbon cutting ceremony at the stadium, 9:30 a.m. Monument Park will have 10 bronze plaques honoring "Hall of Fame players and historical figures who have graced the field," according to the city's website.
#Clearwater will host a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, March 23 to unveil the new Monument Park at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium.— Jason Beisel (@JasonBeisel) March 22, 2018
Monuments honor @Phillies players inducted into @MLB Hall of Fame & other famous MLB players who played at stadium. https://t.co/FL3cB9Yn9S pic.twitter.com/GdWAjxJHHl
Half of the plaques will recognize five Phillies Hall of Famers who played at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium: Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn and Jim Bunning. The other half will honor five "visiting team Hall of Famers" who also played at the stadium, including: Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, and a "commemorator of the 1980 world champion Philadelphia Phillies who trained at the stadium in 1980."
It is not known who from the Phillies will be in attendance at the ceremony, with the big league club set to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton Friday afternoon.
Since opening in 1955, Jack Russell Memorial Stadium served as the Phillies' spring training home until 2003, the Florida State League's Clearwater Phillies home from 1985-2003, and the Amateur Softball Association's Clearwater Bombers' home from 1955-1984. While most of Jack Russell Memorial Stadium was demolished in 2007, some elements still remain as the field is still used today for amateur baseball.