EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Bosse Field is America’s third-oldest ballpark surpassed only by Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. With being over a century-old, proper upkeep is essential to making it last.
The stadium is celebrating its 105th birthday this year and has hosted concerts, football, and plenty of baseball games. A “League of Their Own” was even filmed there. Now, the stadium is getting its first major upgrade since 1958.
Bosse Field opened back in 1915. It first played home to the Evansville River Rats and has gone on to host many more teams, including the Triplets and the Otters.
However, after a century of wear-and-tear, it had begun to show its age in several ways.
“A window unit had a tendency to freeze up whenever it got real hot,” said Otters’ Vice President of Sales Joel Padfield. “It took 15 minutes to turn the old lights on because there were six switches, and you had to wait three minutes between each switch, and if you didn’t do that, it would surge and knock electricity out to the whole stadium.”
Aging air conditions, an outdated electrical grid and a leaky roof were just some of the problems the stadium faced, but now, that’s all being addressed.
Padfield took us on a tour through the stadium Sunday to show us some of the upgrades.
“They rebuilt the backstop, right here all the brick, they did that along the first baseline too, replaced a retaining wall too,” Padfield said. “The new big video board. All new electrical throughout the whole stadium. We have LED lights in every socket, so those don’t take a while to turn on. The new lights will have the ability to flash during home runs, getting a new roof to keep all the fans dry.”
As for players and coaches, they’ll definitely notice a difference too with new central air.
“There’s places that haven’t been air-conditioned at all. The player’s lounge, all the coaches', there’s going to be central air and heating for all those areas,” Padfield said. “There’s gonna be lights pointing upwards as well, for those high fly balls. Definitely gonna be a better place to play and a good recruiting tool for Andy.”
Bosse Field’s upgrades are expected to cost between $4 million and $6 million and the project is being funded by a tax for the preservation of historic structures. A bond issued by the school board allows the renovations to happen, as a tax revenue comes in.
“It had to maintain the old ballpark feel for sure,” Padfield said. “Bosse Field’s an Evansville treasure, and it’s gonna be a destination place for years to come.”
Most of the renovations should be done by the middle of summer.