On Saturday, October 16, the clock was turned back 60 years at the Hammond Ave. baseball fields for an old-timers game. Among the returnees was Olney Baseball Field legend Jim Jordan (shown above). Jim was coach and organizer of the baseball program for decades.
Back in the 1960’s these fields were a baseball hotbed.
“Everyone in the neighborhood played there,” K.C Gallagher reminisced. “Whether they were any good or not, they played there. They came from American Street to Champlost to Spencer to 3rd Street.
“There were at least 10 teams, and we probably had at least 200 kids playing there.”
The Hammond Avenue complex started with just one field, but then expanded to two fields because so many kids were playing there.
It was a big deal with even the Mummers coming out for opening day. “Everyone was into baseball back then,” Gallagher added. “If we weren’t playing baseball, we were playing stickball and wiffle ball.”
But Gallagher like so many others moved out of Olney as the years passed by. As they married and had kids, many residents from Olney moved to New Jersey, Delaware, and further up into Northeast Philadelphia. By the late 1970’s, the fields had started to decline.
“I would sometimes drive past, and the grass would be overgrown and the fields looked run down,” Gallagher said.
Eventually the fields stopped being used. But the memories of playing on these fields did not go away. There is a whole network of ball players who stay in touch now largely through Facebook.
Gallagher and his pals from 60 years ago return to the Hammond Avenue fields this weekend for an Old-Timers game. The Hammond Avenue fields have come back to life!