In this episode of “Ballparks around the World”, we pay attention to a little gem, hidden in a neighborhood of Ontario, California: Jay Littleton Ballpark.
Jay Littleton Ballpark was constructed in 1937 at a cost of $20,000, when the wooden grandstand, which still stands today, was completed. The construction was part of the Works Progress Association, a New Deal program designed to create jobs and help lift America out of the Great Depression. In 1947, the stadium hosted its only professional team, the Ontario Orioles of the class C Sunset League. The ballpark also served as springtraining home for the California Angels of the Pacific Coast League.
Who was this Jay Littleton, the ballpark is named after?
He was born November 22, 1923, in Choudrant, Louisiana. Joe was a resident of Ontario for 49 years and very active in Ontario baseball as he was a member of Pony/Colt League Baseball, American Legion Baseball, and a baseball scout for the Dodgers, Angels, and the Royals.
Located on on the south side of the 10 Freeway and on the corner of East 4th Street and North Grove Avenue, Jay Littleton Ballpark is situated in John Galvin Park. Next doors, a Little League field is located.
Back in 2016, yours truly paid a visit to the ballpark but unfortunately it was closed so I was able to take some photos from the outside only.
Earlier this year, the ballpark served as the backdrop of a new series that has been made after the baseball movie “A League Of Their Own.” But it served the same purpose for the original movie as well. Also parts of The Babe and Eight Men Out were shot here.
The wooden grandstand is very characteristic. It is all covered and has wooden benches as seating. Supporting beams cause an obstructed view at some places. No need to say that this ballpark has this old time feel. It won’t come as a surprise the ballpark is a Historic Landmark. Recently, the ballpark won the Preservation Design Award for Cultural Resource Studies.
Nowadays, the ballpark is mainly used for amateur and senior league baseball. As you can see on the photo below, the foul territory is rather big, making Jay Littleton Ballpark a pitchers park. The capacity of the ballpark is approximately 2,500. The dimensions of the diamond are: Left field: 347, Center field: 402 ft., Right field: 347. With 402 feet, center field is seven feet deeper than Dodger Stadium.
Here are some impressions of the ballpark. Most photos are taken by yours truly.