Reading Fightin Phils help breathe new life into city's Baer Park

Baseballtown Charities to renovate baseball field, replace bleachers

READING, Pa. - The Reading Fightin Phils traded in their bats for some tools of a different trade Friday morning.

The players helped begin breathing new life into Baer Park. Their work is part of Baseballtown Charities' efforts to renovate the park in northwest Reading.

"They're basically taking apart Baer Park, the parts of it that were old and dilapidated, they're getting rid of them so that we can come in and start the renovation project this week," said Scott Hunsicker, the Fightin Phils' general manager.

The $90,000 project, announced by the team's charitable arm in May, calls for installing new fencing, renovating the baseball field and replacing the bleachers.

"We're going to really make this a showplace field that the Reading School District can use, that the people who live in the neighborhood can use," said Hunsicker, who happened to announce Friday another feature to be added to the park, thanks to the success of fundraising efforts.

"We're going to build a deck area... that comes right up off of the playground, up above the bleachers so that the families in the neighborhood and the families of the team can come enjoy a picnic, watching kids play baseball," Hunsicker said.

One of the Fightins players, first baseman Jim Murphy, announced Wednesday that he is parting ways with his 1991 Jaguar XJS Sovereign to benefit the Baer Park project.

Tickets for a raffle are on sale now through the end of the Fightins' last home stand at FirstEnergy Stadium. The cost is $5 each or five for $20.

The winning ticket will be drawn after the team's final home game on Aug. 29, at which time Murphy will present the keys to the car's new owner.

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