Collectible of the Week: 1982 Veterans Stadium Turf SGA
The playing surface at Veterans Stadium was famously bad. For much of it's years as host of Phillies and Eagles home games, the concrete floor of the stadium was covered by only a 1/4" piece of neon-green Astro-Turf. During it's days, the plastic grass ate up Michael Irvin and quite possibly help to drive Scott Rolen out of town (he listed it as one of his complaints of playing in Philly). And, it's notorious nature made it a best seller at the 2003 Final Innings sale of stadium memorabilia.
During the 1981-82 baseball off-season, before the Vet's turf was "The Vet's Turf," the Astro-Turf that covered the field was removed. That particular rug had been in place for the previous five years (1977-1981). Over that period the Phillies had appeared in four postseasons, including the 1980 World Series and the Eagles beat the Cowboys in the NFC Championship at the stadium - making it one large piece of sacred plastic.
Still very close to that first World Championship, the Phillies opened the 1982 promotional calendar by giving away 4"x4" swatches of the carpet to all fans attending the game on April 8, 1982. It was packaged in a sealed plastic bag - with shockingly thin, neon-green turf on one side and an insert card on the other. Using the season's theme of "Baseball's Best," the insert card is labeled: Official "Turf of Champions" from Baseball's Best Showplace - Veterans Stadium. Today the giveaway is little more than a note-worthy remembrance of maligned playing surface. Well worth a purchase price of $10 or less at flea markets, or on eBay...