America’s 3rd oldest baseball stadium celebrates 100 years of baseball greats, A League of Their Own stars, and family trips to the ballpark. Our visit to this historic field will leave you all warm and fuzzy about America’s favorite pastime…
If you look up the oldest baseball stadiums in America, you won’t be very surprised by the oldest and 2nd oldest… Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, respectively. People talk about their storied pasts all the time and plan road trips each year just to say they’ve seen then Green Monster or posed for a picture below the Wrigley Field sign. Fewer people, however, plan a trip to #3 on the list: Bosse Field in Evansville, IN, and quite frankly, after hearing about our experience, we think you will…
From the moment you pull in the parking lot, the feel of old-time baseball seems to radiate from the century-old bricks of the stadium walls. To put it simply, Bosse Field, from the street, just looks like the kind of place where baseball magic is made.
Truth be told, we can write a story like this from anywhere- pull some pictures from the net and read up on the history of the field, but then we never would have had the pleasure of meeting our tour guide, Bix Branson, Vice President of the Evansville Otters.
A good tour guide can take a place you find on the internet and turn it into something special in person, and Bix is just that sort of guide. Teeming with both excitement for the Otters’ game that night and his love of the field, its history, and what it means to baseball, no detail of Bosse Field was without a story and a grin from Bix as he took me through the locker rooms, managers’ offices, press box, and even the roof of the 100 year old field.
Bix, the consummate salesman, even took us to the gift shop, which resulted in a $40 Bosse Field coffee-table book, a purchase we’ve been thumbing through daily since I left.
One of the highlights of our tour of Bosse Field? The fake advertisements left painted on the stadium from when it was used in the 1990s baseball classic, A League of Their Own.
The movie that made, “There’s no crying in baseball,” the second-most common baseball phrase uttered, right after “Play Ball,” was filmed almost entirely at this historic baseball field.
To commemorate the field’s 100th anniversary, the Evansville Museum is currently featuring an entire exhibit on Bosse Field which includes plenty of A League of Their Own newspaper clippings and photos like these:
While Bosse Field is a bonafide Hollywood star, it’s also a sports star with multiple baseball and even football greats having played on its historic grass. Ever since Mayor Benjamin Bosse commissioned the stadium over a century ago, the field has been hosting players who would go on to be stars in the MLB and NFL. The most well-known modern player to play here is a name even a non-baseball fan probably knows: Don Mattingly. The baseball great and Evansville native passed through Bosse Field on his way to a state championship in 1978 and a runner-up finish the following year before he was soon signed by the New York Yankees. The address for Bosse Field pays homage to the hometown hero: 23 Don Mattingly Way.
Apart from a famous movie being filmed here and the fact so many sports greats have played here, Bosse Field is most impressive just for being Bosse Field for the past 100 years. Let us explain…
In a century of use, Bosse Field has never been a major league ballpark. While it’s hosted big-league exhibition games, the bread-and-butter has always been minor leagues, independent leagues, women’s leagues, and even war-time factory team leagues. The fact it sits forever in baseball history with the likes of Wrigley and Fenway as a smaller field in a tremendously smaller market just makes you feel good inside. It’s baseball at its simplest and most wonderful. Bosse Field gives little boys and girls the chance to taste the magic of baseball without the big-league price tag.
After our tour with Bix was finished, we enjoyed a $4 32oz. beer (Can we talk about how cheap that is?) and just people/baseball watched. Kids ran by with their gloves on and faces painted, hoping to catch a foul ball. Friends took in hot dogs and beers to beat the summer humidity. While most ballparks are throwing money at fancy amenities, Bosse Field made us fall in love with baseball all over again with some simple wooden seats and two teams on a diamond.
The Evansville Otters didn’t come out with a win that night, but Bosse Field is a place where even a loss feels like a win.
Bosse Field (Home of the Evansville Otters)
23 Don Mattingly Way
Evansville, Indiana 47711
About the home team, the Evansville Otters:
The Evansville Otters are an Independent professional baseball team in southwestern Indiana playing in the Frontier League. For their upcoming schedule (and more on Bosse Field), visit the Otter’s website.