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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Goodall Park - Sanford Mainers

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Goodall Park Roberts St Sanford, ME 04073

Year Opened: 1997 Capacity: 950

The Maine Event

The original Goodall Park was built in 1915 by Goodall Industries as a communal recreation spot for their local textile mill workers. The old wooden grandstand, which had stood since then, was destroyed by an arsonist in 1997. After some debate the town rebuilt the grandstand at a cost of $1 million dollars. The grandstand, designed to mimic the original structure, but with modern materials and design, was re-dedicated on July 16, 1999.

Goodall Park is noteworthy for being the site of Babe Ruth’s final game in a Red Sox uniform. During an exhibition game between the Red Sox and Sanford Professionals in 1919, Ruth hit a home run to lead the Sox to a 4-3 win. Ruth was soon thereafter traded to the New York Yankees.

The Sanford Mainers have called Goodall Park home since their inception in 2002. A member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Mainers have reached four NECBL championship series, winning two (2004, 2008). Seven former Mainers have reached the Major Leagues.

Goodall Park was the site of a tragic accident on June 1, 2018, when a woman in the midst of a psychotic episode drove her car onto the field during a Babe Ruth League game, scattering players and spectators as they attempted to avoid the car. One individual was killed as he attempted to protect others and block the car from exiting the ballpark. Ironically, this person had confessed to being the driver in an unsolved hit and run accident 50 years earlier, which had claimed the life of a young girl. The entire story is chronicled in the excellent ESPN documentary, “The Hero of Goodall Park.”

Food & Beverage 4

There is a concession stand located on the back side of the grandstand which offers a variety of snacks and beverages for Mainer fans. In addition to hot dogs and pizza slices, fans can select meatball subs, pulled pork, ham or turkey sandwiches, hummus wraps and garden salads.

Even with the surprising amount of food available at this little stand, it’s the snack options that really stand out. All the standards can be found here, including popcorn, pretzels and nachos. Candy and ice cream novelties also dot the menu. But the true star of the show is the homemade strawberry shortcake that is available starting around the third inning. The rush to the stands when it is announced that the shortcake is ready is impressive.

Coca-Cola products are featured at Goodall Park. Younger fans go for the Frazil slushies, served in reusable cups that can be refilled for only a dollar. No alcoholic beverages are sold at Goodall Park.

Atmosphere 3

A game day at Goodall Park exudes that small town feel from the moment you catch a glimpse of the classic grandstand until the moment you leave through the quaint downtown. There’s not much in the way of the over-the-top shenanigans you’ll find elsewhere, and this is exactly why a visit to Sanford is worth the trip.

A pair of mascots, Bruce D’Moose and Boomer, roam the ballpark interacting with fans and taking the occasional spin on the Moose Mobile with fans. While there are occasional between inning games on the field in between innings, they can hardly be considered intrusive. The PA announcer goes about his duties in a low-key manner, and a simple scoreboard in left-center field provides basic game information.

Neighborhood 3

Goodall Park is located right near downtown Sanford, just a couple of blocks from Main Street. While Sanford doesn’t exactly have a bustling downtown, there are plenty of spots for visiting fans to grab a quick bite before the game, as the area along route 109 has been built up over recent years. Most of the options in the area are of the chain variety, but locals recommend Third Alarm Diner and Mel’s Raspberry Patch.

Fans looking for places to stay in Sanford won’t find many options right in town. There is a Quality Inn out by the airport, but visitors would be better served to head to the nearby beaches in Wells for options.

If visiting Sanford, you most likely won’t be staying in town, but heading to the beaches nearby in Wells, the shops in Kittery, or the breweries in Portsmouth, NH, all located about a half hour drive of Sanford. Not much farther away are Old Orchard Beach, Portland and Hampton Beach, NH, all popular summer destinations in their own right.

Fans 3

You wouldn’t expect gigantic crowds in a ballpark with a capacity of under 1,000, and you don’t get them in Sanford. The Mainers average between 450-550 per game, which ranks them in the middle third of the 14-team NECBL.

The crowd is made up primarily of locals, with plenty of kids in attendance to give the ballpark some good energy. The fans here in this small city love their Mainers, and are really into the action and are knowledgeable about their hometown team.

Access 4

Goodall Park is located in downtown Sanford, ME, a small city of just under 22,000 residents in southern Maine. Despite being located a bit off the beaten path, Goodall Park is pretty easy to get to. Simply take exit 19 off of Interstate 95 (The Maine Turnpike), and follow Route 109 about 14 miles into town. The ballpark is a couple of blocks off Main Street in the quaint downtown area.

There is a small parking lot directly across the street from the ballpark, which fills up quickly. On-street parking is available all up and down Roberts Street, with additional parking up the hill near the police station. It’s a steep hill, but a short walk.

The ballpark’s ticket booth is located at the front gate, on the open concourse behind the grandstand. The concession stand, souvenir stand and rest rooms are all located here. With the small crowds that typically show up at Goodall Park, lines are not an issue.

The majority of the seating at Goodall Park is in the ballpark’s cozy covered grandstand, which features comfortable individual stadium seats throughout. Netting does cover the front of the entire grandstand, so if you wish to enjoy an unobstructed view, you’ll have to sit in the metal bleachers down the right field line.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Mainers games cost seven dollars, with children, seniors and members of the military receiving a two-dollar discount. Parking is free in the lot across the street and on the streets near the ballpark. Concessions are affordable, with the majority of the items sold priced under five dollars. During the last couple of innings, prices of some items are reduced to ensure there are no leftovers to waste. It’s a great chance to get another piece of strawberry shortcake at a cheap price.

A game at Goodall Park is a most affordable entertainment option for southern Maine sports fans.

Extras 2

This small-town ballpark’s history merits an additional point. Towns all over New England claim “Babe Ruth played here,” but only Goodall Park can lay claim to being the site of the Babe’s last game in a Red Sox uniform. The Babe may have been aided by the tiny dimensions of the park, with the right field foul pole located only 283 feet from home plate, but that’s unlikely.

A second extra point is awarded for all the extra things going on here at a Mainers game. From the free programs available to all fans to the raffle table with its variety of prizes to the discounts on concessions during the last few innings, there’s something going on all game long to keep your attention.

Final Thoughts

Ballparks like Goodall Park are prime examples of why ballpark chasers travel the country watching baseball games. The quality of play on the field is good, the prices are affordable, and you won’t find a better setting anywhere. Pair a Mainers game with a trip to Maine’s other summer destinations, or even a Red Sox game in Boston, and you’ve found yourself another outstanding Stadium Journey.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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