Former Cactus League Stadiums: Keegan Field
Keegan Field 1969, Photo Courtesy of Yuma County Library District
Our next of several features on former Cactus League spring training facilities, some of which still exist and some do not. Yuma, AZ enjoyed three spring training sites since the Cactus League started in 1947. The Baltimore Orioles used the first one, Municipal Stadium/Panther Field, for just one year (1954) before moving to Florida. The next one, was also used for just one year…
Keegan Field, Yuma, AZ
Keegan Field served the 1969 expansion team San Diego Padres for their first spring training season. The team used this field just the one season as Desert Sun Stadium, their permanent facility, was constructed.
Prior to the Padres coming to town, Keegan Field was a no-nonsense amateur baseball facility. Once the Padres chose Yuma as their spring home, the community pulled together to renovate and improve Keegan Field for MLB habitation.
As found in SABRs Spring Training in Yuma article by Jim Patrick, “Bleachers, fences, dugouts, locker rooms, showers, batting cages, sliding pits, a press box, and a PA system were all absent. The field needed to be leveled and the pitching mound had to be raised to professional standards. “
“Doc Mattei described the impressive community effort: “The Marines built the lockers. The electric company took light poles and made a batting cage. Tanner Construction leveled the field. We raised $3,000 from a raffle, $3,000 from a barbeque, and $3,000 selling bumper stickers. Some of the bleachers were purchased at ‘going out of business’ prices from a Las Vegas racetrack. “
Player facilities were not ideal. The Padres clubhouse stood behind the scoreboard with showers outside the nearby Kennedy Swimming Pool. The unfortunate visiting team provisions were at Municipal Stadium, a mile and a half northwest of Keegan Field.
The Padres played 14 games at the venue in 1969.
Keegan Field has returned to an amateur sports facility. As it stands today, it is quite difficult to imagine it served as a spring training site with up to 2,000 fans watching preseason baseball.
Keegan Field Today, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey, Photo taken from third base side of the field. The structure beyond the scoreboard/outfield is the swimming pool area where the Padres clubhouse and showers were located.
Keegan Field Dugout, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey. The field and park are totally enclosed and locked inside a chain link fence today.
Keegan Field View From Outfield, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Special thanks to Jim Patrick for the historic photos and information.