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Let’s Salute Historic Bosse Field, Third Oldest Ball Park in America!
One of our readers, Dan Marcacci played minor league ball for the Evansville Otters of the Independent Frontier League. Dan asked us if we could post a photo of Bosse Field, the Otters’ home park. As always the case when our readers make a request, we’re very happy to oblige.
In putting this piece together, I learned a lot about historic Bosse Field. Appropriately located on “23 Dan Mattingly Way” (named after the Evansville, Indiana native and major league star), Bosse Field opened on June 17, 1915 as the first municipally-owned sports stadium in the United States. It’s currently the third oldest ballpark still in regular use. Only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are older.
In addition to being the home of the Otters, it’s also been the home for many high school and college teams, American Legion teams, college soccer teams, and has served as the venue for many outdoor concerts. It was once the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers; and during the 1940s and ‘50’s was the home for the Tigers’ AAA affiliate. It even has a connection to professional football. From 1921 to 1922, Bosse Field was home to the Evansville Crimson Giants of the NFL. One of its biggest claims to fame was being the on-site location for numerous scenes in the baseball classic, “A League of Their Own.”
There’s been over 20 major leaguers who have played in Bosse Field, including seven Hall of Famers: Chuck Klein, Edd Rousch, Sam Thompson, Hank Greenburg, Warren Spahn, Bert Blyleven, and Frick Award recipient Bob Uecker.
Retaining much of its rich, early 20th century grandeur, and with a warm red brick façade reminding one of Ebbets Field, Dan described his experiences in Bosse Field as “like playing in a time warp. The stadium looks like it was built for polo and nothing has changed. It was awesome. And I loved pitching there with the old-time gigantic outfield dimensions.”
In addtiion to being one of the oldest ballparks in the country, it’s also one of the most photogenic. It’s horseshoe shape is reminiscent of New York’s old Polo Grounds. In spite of numerous renovations over the years, Bosse Field has retained its 100-year old charm. It’s a wonderful park to visit, both as a piece of authentic Americana, and as a great place to watch a ballgame.
Dan had an interesting baseball career. The 6’4”, 210 pound right-handed pitcher started his college career at Florida Atlantic University, but saw limited action in two years, pitching only six innings. Seeking more playing time, the Florida native transferred to the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville before the 2010 season. In his first year at USI, the Eagles won the NCAA Division II National Championship – with Dan on the mound for the final six outs in the championship game.
Dan’s success at USI landed him a spot on the Evansville Otters roster before the end of his senior year; and he soon found himself pitching in historic Bosse Field. After two outstanding relief appearances, Dan’s manager, Andy McCauley, was impressed with what he saw, and Dan was named one of the Otters’ starters. He posted five scoreless innings in his first professional start; and followed this with a total of three scoreless outings in his first four games to go with a sparkling 1.29 ERA. McCauley had high praise for his new arrival, who was straight off the USI campus:
“Dan’s been great for us. We’re not looking for the kind of outings that he’s had in the past every time, but he pitches well. He’s been working ahead, throwing strikes, and hopefully it continues.”
Dan relished the opportunity to continue his baseball career in Evansville, but unfortunately he blew out his arm in his second year with the team, cutting his professional career short, and putting an end to his major league aspirations. But Dan kept his interest in sports alive, and now strives to give young ball players the same opportunity he had. After his playing career ended, he started a company called Prospect Connect Showcases, which, according to Dan, “helps get high schoolers in front of colleges and pro scouts.”
And, as a self-described “baseball history nerd,” he’s become a devoted reader of our Old-Time Baseball Photos Facebook page!
The next time you’re in Indiana, remember to check out historic Bosse Field.
Photo Credits: All from Google search
Information: Excerpts edited from article about Dan Marcacci in the Evansville Courier and Press, June 13, 2011: http://archive.courierpress.com/sports/college/former-usi-pitching-ace-a-hit-with-the-otters-ep-445452364-327469911.html; from the Bosse Field Wikipedia page; and from information supplied by Dan Marcacci