Major League Baseball is gearing up to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with the announcement Tuesday that the 2026 All-Star Game will be played in Philadelphia.
Commissioner Rob Manfred delivered the news in front of Independence Hall, sharing the stage with All-Stars past and present including Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and new Philadelphia outfielder Bryce Harper.
“Major League Baseball is honored to have the 2026 All-Star Game in Philadelphia be part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of American independence,” Manfred said in a statement. “This event will continue a tradition established in 1976 where the National Pastime plays an important role in a milestone for our country.”
This will be the fifth Midsummer Classic in Philadelphia, which was hosted at Shibe Park in 1943 and 1952 and at Veterans Stadium in 1976 and 1996, but will mark the first All-Star Game at Citizens Bank Park, which opened in 2004.
Choosing the site so far in advance — and before the previous five years’ games are awarded — is unusual, but Manfred said the league has its reasons, according to a report by The Inquirer. Although Philadelphia is a logical location to help mark America’s 250th birthday, by announcing it seven years in advance, MLB could boost the city’s efforts to attract other marquee events for the celebration, just as it did for the bicentennial in 1976.
Also, Manfred noted the league likely won’t have to look hard for a Phillies player around whom to build their 2026 All-Star marketing campaign. By 2026, Harper will be just more than halfway through his 13-year, $330 million contract.
“Let’s hope he gives us a home run derby like he gave us in Washington last year,” Manfred said during the announcement. “That would be great.”
Harper told the crowd, “There’s nothing more exciting than going to an All-Star Game and enjoying it with some of the best players in the game. I can’t really explain how exciting it is to be in the home run derby, to be part of the (pregame) parade. Just for the city and the fans, you guys are going to enjoy it so much.”
Cleveland will host this year’s 90th All-Star Game on July 9, and Los Angeles will host the 2020 game at Dodger Stadium. Sites for 2021-25 have not been named.
—Field Level Media