Elliott: Halladay plaque hangs at Jack Russell monument park

RHP Roy Halladay has a plaque at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla., which should be a must stop for Blue Jays fans making the trip to Florida next spring. Photos: Eddie Michels, Rick Vaughn.

RHP Roy Halladay has a plaque at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla., which should be a must stop for Blue Jays fans making the trip to Florida next spring. Photos: Eddie Michels, Rick Vaughn.

By Bob Elliott

Canadian Baseball Network

The hallowed oak halls of Cooperstown are not the only place where one can see a Roy Halladay plaque in the future.

The Philadelphia Phillies played at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla. from 1955 through good times and bad. They moved a few blocks closer to I-19 and a new yard Brighthouse Field in 2004.

The grandstand at Jack Russell is gone, but the memories remain. The diamond remains and so do a few bleachers.

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Since St. Petersburg Junior College and Clearwater High still call the diamond home as well as amateur tourneys, the City of Clearwater thought it would be an excellent place for a memorial garden with monuments.

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The City felt there was so much history at the stadium and decided to build a “monument park” to honour Phillies Hall of Famers 3B Michael Schmidt, CF Richie Ashburn, RHP Robin Roberts, LHP Steve Carlton, RHP Jim Bunning and Halladay.

Halladay spent his whole career pitching in Pinellas County.

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Rick Vaughn, a Robert O. Fischel award winner in 2003, came up with all the Hall of Famers who ever played for Philadelphia, plus, a plaque about Jack Russell himself and Phillies pennant winners.

Vaughn, worked for Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays, did some research and come up with a list of Hall of Famers who played at Jack Russell.

Of course, this does not include the likes of the late Huey Alexander, Dallas Green, Larry (The Baron) Shenk and Jim Fregosi. A trip from Dunedin to Clearwater was only a venture of six miles, but it always seemed like a trip back in time to visit the game’s most colourful and beloved characters.

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Jack Russell Stadium should be a must-stop for Blue Jays fans visiting spring training next season. It’s only six miles between parks.

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And former Phillies, who played the ,majority of their career elsewhere also get mentioned including RHP Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) former Toronto Maple Leaf manager Sparky Anderson, Tony Perez, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Morgan.

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