Jun 25, 2012

Before The IronPigs

Max Hess Stadium 1959
Guest Post By Dennis Pearson

During the Steel strike of 1959 my dad took a job as a groundskeeper for the Allentown Red Sox. Those were the days when it rained, they were allowed to burn the field to dry it off.
My dad was allowed to bring my friends and myself to the park. Those were carefree days for me and we wondered around the park which was located where JC Penny now is located in the Lehigh Valley Mall.
Breadon Field was renamed Max Hess Stadium when he was allowed to take control of the park for $1. Memory fades as whether Max Hess himself sold the premises or his successors , but I boycotted JC Penny's for many years for locating its business where the park was.
One of the personalities that played at the park was Tracy Stallard who achieved some sort of notorious fame as the pitcher who served up Roger Maris' sixty first homer.
Another personality that played there was Curt Simmons, a native of Egypt PA, who in his later years pitched at Max Hess Stadium in a rehab assignment. The presence of Curt Simmons filled up the house.
Another personality that played there was myself. Playing for the East Side Rams City Midget team against the West End Youth Center in a pre-game exhibition game, I went one for two. My hit was a double,
I am indeed delighted that professional baseball is back in the Lehigh Valley and that it is located in East Allentown. As President of the East Allentown Rittersville Neighborhood Association I went before the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners approving the then ongoing efforts to bring baseball back.
I applied for the recent vacancy on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners. It would have been very nice to have been appointed County Commissioner as baseball returned. Unfortunately that did not happen to my disappointment.
I trust that my advocacy for the return of baseball is not lost on the Commissioners and the Ironpigs themselves.

Dennis Pearson

GUEST POST; Dennis, a lifelong Allentonian played little league as a boy, and coached as an adult. I also remember Breadon field, but only as a spectator

reprinted from March 2008


Bethlehem Native said...

Did Central Catholic play their home football games at Breadon Field/Max Hess Stadium at some point? My mother graduated from there in the early 60's and I seem to recall her high school year books having pictures of the football team playing in what appeared to be a baseball stadium.
I could be mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Lovely photo, thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

In a media market where radio 'newscasters' can't pronounce the names of half of our towns it's so nice to see MM gives us this sense of Lehigh Valley memory.....even for those of us who were not here as kids.