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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Tucked away in the small town of Limeport, Pennsylvania is Limeport Stadium. The ballpark has been the home to both amateur and high school baseball since 1933. It seats 1,100 people and was originally named Fegley’s Baseball Ballpark. Howard “Lefty” Fegley was a local dairy farmer and had such a passion for the game that he employed 75-100 workers at a rate of 10-14 cents an hour to construct a ballpark adjacent to his home and dairy farm. The final cost of the stadium is said to be $75,000, which would be $1,334,250 in today’s standards, a bargain in any decade for a ballpark.
It was constructed to resemble Shibe Park (later Connie Mack Stadium) in Philadelphia and to meet the growing need of baseball in the community. The stadium’s solid brick structure, metal trusses, curved covered grandstand, and framed windows are aesthetically beautiful and have remained virtually unchanged in the eight decades of existence for the facility.
On July 30, 1933, the Limeport Milkmen of the East Penn Baseball League played in front of 4,000 fans. Although, a home for amateur teams, the Milkmen in the beginning were paid a minimal stipend and would be considered a professional team by today’s standards. The league would operate until 1950, but baseball of the high school, tournament, and amateur varieties have continued to flourish inside Fegley’s palace. There are over 100 games played every year from late March to early September at Limeport Stadium.
The Limeport Bulls share the stadium with the Limeport Dodgers of the Blue Mountain League. The Bulls debuted in the highly regarded amateur league in 2014, after spending previous seasons in the Tri-County League. The ballplayers may not be paid athletes, but when playing within these surroundings, you can’t help but feel like a professional baseball player at Limeport Stadium.
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You might not be expecting the food varieties for home games at Limeport Stadium, but there is a lot to be found at the concession stand. The taco salad is not only delicious, but big enough for sharing and costs a mere $5. Cheesesteaks and meatball subs get the royal treatment at $4 apiece. The fried pierogi, a regional dish, is accompanied by a side of sour cream and pan grilled onions and are a bargain at only $2.50.
If you prefer your more prototypical ballpark food, then hot dogs, pretzels and nachos are available from $1-$2. Ice cream and candy round out the menu options at the lone concession stand underneath the grandstand. The food here is simple, but features regional dishes and a little home cooking, and rivals many of the collegiate wood bat league ballparks.
It is hard to describe such an iconic baseball stadium without sounding cliché or using overused adjectives. The solid brick structure with metal trusses features the original fold down green chairs that were installed in 1933. The covered grandstand features ceiling fans and an extra concession booth near the steel edge windows. There has not been much that has changed at the stadium during its tenure as a ballpark.
Perhaps the most striking display of might is the center field wall looming 485 feet from home plate. There are six small pine trees that serve as the batter's eye with a flag pole as the center piece, and all of this is in play. The large inclined outfield could also be intimidating and its reason for existing is part of the ballpark's lore. The story is that there was a large boulder underneath the field that was too expensive to blast away during construction, so it was left alone, creating the steep slope in center field. If it didn't exist, it might take away from some the stadium's charm. Another bit of lore is that only one man has cleared the center field fence in the stadium's 81-year-old history, Alex Sabo. Sabo played briefly as a catcher for the Washington Senators in 1936-1937.
There is a small two-man public address booth firmly behind home plate and both men make the atmosphere a little more inviting throughout the game. You can hear trivia quizzes, upcoming games, promotional dates, and 50/50 prize winners. During the game, the announcers ask the audience to vote whether or not they want the ceiling fans in operation.
Lights were added in 1984 for the first time and at this time are in need of replacement at a cost of around $275,000.
The ballpark's setting near old cottages, farm land and two-lane roads is as inviting as the toned down and relaxing atmosphere inside during a game. I would imagine that things have not changed too drastically since its opening in 1933. A small building that was once a garage sits in the parking lot and features memorabilia that includes jerseys, photographs, seats and trophies.
The stadium is located on farmland and sprawling hills and is only 5-10 miles from the bustling towns of Allentown and Quakertown, but the area feels miles away from the commercial and interstate traffic of the rest of the Lehigh Valley.
The Limeport Inn is a trendy restaurant that features appetizers of cornmeal fried calamari, duck confit taquitos, mussels from Prince Edward Island and for dinner rack of lamb, scallops, and steak options. The outdoor patio is perfect on a warm, summer day and is a perfect place to eat before the game.
Also, Allentown and Quakertown area restaurants are a few miles away by car for more food options, but staying in Limeport feels like the right thing to do when attending a game.
The local Bulls have an ardent following and the faithful who come out in support back their team throughout the 7-innings that are mandated from the Blue Mountain Valley League. The fans approach their local nine with the same enthusiasm as you would see in a few lower level minor league stadiums. They appreciate the hustle, grind and determination that is displayed on the field. Larger crowds turn out for weekends, holidays and the annual all-star and playoff games.
The stadium is three miles south of SR-309 and I-78 on the Limeport Pike. It is a scenic drive down the two-lane highway as you approach the ballpark on the right hand side of the road. The grass covered parking lot is ample and is free of charge. The stadium is well hidden off the main commercial roads. It may be secluded, but it is still easily accessible by car.
Ticket prices are $3 for adults and $1 for children, a small price to pay for any level of baseball in a historic facility. If I lived in the area, I would come out here every opportunity that I would have. In fact, I might even offer to help cut the grass.
It should be noted that baseball in Limeport might not exist if it was not for the dedicated hours by the Limeport Stadium Incorporated (LSI). The non-profit organization includes over fifty volunteer men and women who help raise funds for stadium improvements, sell tickets, manicure the field, handle game day operations and hold fundraisers. Since its inception in 1988, the LSI has raised over $100,000 for stadium improvements and renovations. Without their support, the stadium may only exist in both memory and photographs. Another interesting story about the ballpark is that Fegley's beagle is said to be buried underneath third base.
Limeport Stadium is somewhat off the radar of ballparks for many a sport traveler. However, this could be a good thing, since the atmosphere, location and setting does not feel altered from when Mr. Fegley first played baseball at this site. If he were alive today, you could bet he would be smiling that his stadium is still the landmark in town.
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