In today’s episode of “Ballparks Around the World,” we pay attention to a ballpark you likely will never have heard of: Bancroft Memorial Park in Bancroft Iowa.
I bumped into this little wooden ballpark when watching the documentary “Summer Ball.” It is about the Bancroft Bandits, which plays in the Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League.
This little gem of a ballpark is the heart and soul of the small community of Bancroft. The town has around 730 inhabitants and is located about 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) North of Iowa state capital Des Moines, very close to the border with Minnesota.
Bancroft Memorial Park was built in 1948 but the looks of the ballpark could tell you it was erected somewhere in the 1920s. It has that classic wooden grandstand. The ballpark has a capacity of 1,300. According to the story of Tom Murray, a retired Minneapolis school teacher who grew up in the small town of Bancroft, the ballpark was built partially because of Murray’s baseball playing Uncle Tommy, who died fighting in the Philippines during World War II. The family took the life insurance money, and in 1948 they had their own baseball park.
Ever since the town was founded in 1881, baseball has played a big role in this community. The community has been the home of many high school state championship teams through the years. Two major leaguers were born and raised in Bancroft: All Star, Denis Menke (who played during the 1960’s), and Major leaguer, Joe Hatten, who played with Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Bancroft Memorial Ballpark, which is an area landmark is the Home Field for North Union High School Baseball Team and the Bancroft Bandits- a proud member of the aforementioned Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League.
The main grandstand contains a press box. Even though the ballpark is seventy-three years old, it has a state of the art flood light system, an irrigation system for the infield and the most recent addition is a new scoreboard that was financed thanks to a crowdfunding, a community effort.
Here are some photos of this beautiful ballpark. The photos are taken from http://www.IowaAdventurer.com.