In an announcement that delighted most everyone but surprised no one, Major League Baseball, the Phillies and city officials announced Citizens Bank Park will host the MLB All-Star Game in 2026, as the city celebrates the nation’s 250th birthday.
Historic year. Historic event. Historic city.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 16, 2019
Philadelphia will host the 2026 MLB All-Star Game! pic.twitter.com/kGziFcozJO
“I’m here to make official one of the worst-kept secrets in America: The 2026 All-Star Game has been awarded to the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia,” Commissioner Rob Manfred told the crowd gathered in front of Independence Hall. “Baseball has a special place in our culture, and it’s only fitting that we are here to celebrate the 250th anniversary of our country.”
Manfred was joined on stage by former and current players, coaches and team officials, as well as Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf for the celebration/announcement. Former three-time MVP Mike Schmidt and $330 million man Bryce Harper both spoke to the crowd as well.
Harper, by the way, will be on the 8th year of his 13-year contract when that game rolls around.
Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 but has never hosted the Midsummer Classic, unusual for a new ballpark. Veterans Stadium hosted the All Star Game in 1976 to celebrate the nation’s 200th birthday, as noted by Schmidt, who said, “One of my greatest memories as a player was being introduced to a five-minute standing ovation from the crowd.” The Vet hosted again in 1996, while the 1943 and ‘52 games were held at Shibe Park.
Manfred said former Phillies team president and current chairman and minority owner David Montgomery, who has been in ill health, had been pushing him to select Philadelphia as the host city in 2026 for a while now. “When Dave started asking me a few years ago if we could announce the 2026 All-Star Game in Philadelphia,” Manfred said, “he didn’t do that for himself. He didn’t even really do it for the Phillies. He did it for the fans here in Philadelphia.”
The city is also trying to lure the Super Bowl and the World Cup to celebrate the semiquincentennial, which is part of the reason why the league is making the announcement now even though no site has been selected for the games from 2021-25. This year’s All Star Game is in Cleveland, while next year’s will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.