It has been a while but in this episode of Ballparks around the World we pay attention to League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana. Just like Bosse Field in neighboring Evansville, League Stadium served as a backdrop for A League Of Their Own.
The original grounds were opened in 1894 and served as a fairground as well as the Dubois County Fair Board built a wooden grandstand to accommodate the crowds at the annual county fair. The facility had a capacity of 1,500 people and featured a 260-foot long grandstand that hosted events such as horse racing and livestock shows.
The grandstand was destroyed when it was hit by strong winds in 1921. After it was rebuilt, the ballpark served as a home to the Huntingburg Merchants of the Indiana-Kentucky League in the 1950s. Attendance wise, the club was rather successful as it averaged about 1,000 spectators per game. But bad times would come for League Stadium.
In 1973, the county fair would leave the wooden ballpark to look for greener pastures. Eleven years later about a third of the deteriorating grandstand was razed. But in the early 90s, the ballpark would be renovated. The place would serve as a backdrop for A League Of Their Own, the baseball movie about the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, starring Tom Hanks, Madonna and Geena Davis. The remaining grandstand was extended with two wings to make the ballpark look like its former self of the 1940s. This renovation would take ten weeks and cost $800,000. It resulted in a 2,800 seat ballpark that would be used after the filming crews were gone.
But League Stadium was wanted. In 1995 the recording of HBO’s Soul Of The Game took place. As the movie was about the Negro Leagues, League Stadium served as the home of the Kansas City Blues.
In 1996, the independent Frontier League landed in Huntingburg. For six years League Stadium was the home of the Dubois County Dragons. After the Dragons left, it took three years before the ballpark got a main tenant again. The Dubois County Bombers moved into the ballpark and are still playing in this little gem. The Bombers are a collegiate summer league team of the Prospect League.
League Stadium is one of the few remaining wooden ballparks. It has a rich history. Satchel Paige, for example, played in the ballpark in the early 1960s and posed with little leaguers.
In 1997, the ballpark got a little upgrade as ten rows of box seats from Atlanta Fulton County Stadium were added. The other seating are backless benches. The dimensions of the field are: Left Field 320 ft, Center Field 385 ft, Right Field 322 ft.
Here is a short video impression of the ballpark.