League Stadium – Dubois County Bombers
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
League Stadium 203 South Cherry St. Huntingburg, IN 47452
Year Opened: 1991
There’s Nothing to Cry About at this Ballpark
League Stadium is home to the Dubois County Bombers of the Ohio Valley League, but the ballpark is famously known as the home of the Rockford Peaches in the major motion picture A League of Their Own that chronicled the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940’s. Bombers ownership have not forgotten this and have made sure that the game day experience is somewhat reminiscent of 1992 film.
League Stadium itself does have quite a history as the grounds have hosted baseball since 1894 when the Dubois County Fair Board built a wooden grandstand to accommodate the crowds at the annual county fair. The facility sat 1,500 people and featured a 260-foot long grandstand that hosted events such as horse racing and live stock shows
In 1921, strong winds destroyed the original grandstand but it would be rebuilt in time for Independence Day celebrations. Semi-pro baseball would be a fixture with the Huntingburg Merchants of the Indiana-Kentucky League during the 1950’s with crowds around 1,000 per game. Dubois County was a hub with 10 baseball clubs alone.
However, in 1973 the county fair moved to another location and by 1984 one-third of the deteriorating grandstand was razed with only the portion behind home plate preserved. Then in 1991 Huntingburg mayor Connor Nass devised an idea to use the stadium for the film A League of Their Own.
Two new wings were added to the existing portion of the stadium and built to exact details of the time of the film of the 1940’s. The wood was cut in straight pieces, nails were used instead of staples, and the roof would not feature shingles. A crew of 36 men worked on the transformation of the stadium in 10 weeks and at a cost of $800,000. The result was a permanent 2,800 seat baseball stadium that would be used once filming would cease.
Hollywood came back in 1995 for HBO’s Soul of the Game about the Negro Leagues. League Stadium became Kansas City’s Blues Stadium. The next year the Dubois County Dragons of the Frontier League opened up shop and stayed until 2002. The Bombers arrived as a summer collegiate team in 2005 and have been a mainstay ever since donning 1940’s era uniforms and an enthusiastic game day staff that keeps the spirit of the “A League of Their Own” alive and well.
Food & Beverage 3
The ballpark has a few sections where they serve the basics from hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, brats, grilled chicken sandwiches, and peanuts. The selection is not as varied as other places, but definitely satisfying for baseball games during the summer months. The prices range from $3 (hot dog) to $4.75 for a double hamburger. There is a beer garden down the left field line that offers popular national brands and a few locally made beers on draft. The prices range from $3 for Bud and Bud Light cans to $6 for craft selections from Basket Case Brewing Company in nearby Jasper, Indiana.
The ballpark offers two distinct sections of seating that includes 1,400 orange theater-style seats that were once installed at Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium and wooden bleachers in the upper area of the grandstand. The very top row of the stadium offers VIP seating with table tops and chairs along with plenty of elbow room for socializing.
The covered wooden grandstand includes various columns and posts that feature banners of former players who called the ballpark home. There are also US flags hung in various parts of the grandstand netting stems from both dugouts. There is an electronic scoreboard behind the right field wall but it appears somewhat out of place here.
A small press box with a lively crew that includes a public announcer who dresses up as Harry Carey and imitates the former Sox and Cubs announcer with his rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. He also gets the crowd excited throughout the game with announcements and on-field promotions.
The in-between promotions include dizzy bat races, throw down at third where kids toss water balloons at the mascot Casey (a local college student dressed in a throwback uniform), and t-shirt tosses to lucky fans who get a chance to walk on the field.
The Peaches are a group of eleven young ladies dressed in pink baseball uniform dresses from the movie who sell tickets, greet customers at the door, provide temporary tattoos to young fans, and take part in dancing to the Cotton Eye Joe after the 4th inning of play in the grandstand. The dance is part tradition and provides a boisterous cheer from all in attendance.
The stadium also features many memories from A League of Their Own including movie set pieces underneath the grandstand, merchandise in a small–but very impressive gift shop–and the infamous quote “There’s no crying in baseball!” uttered by Tom Hanks during the film is plastered against the exterior wall. There is even a spot where he said the famous line.
The outfield walls are lined with beautifully painted 1940’s period advertisements that had been left over by the film crew along with the hand operated scoreboard. A concrete wall (painted brick brown) surrounds the stadium with League Stadium imprinted behind home plate and in center field.
Downtown Huntingburg is located a few blocks from the ballpark offering various storefronts and places to eat before or after the game. The Gaslight Restaurant offers sandwiches and pizza, Mama T’s Italian Steakhouse is a fine choice for dining, and Market Street Soup & Salad is another fine choice. There are also a few regional chain restaurants along the main street heading north towards Jasper where a few more breweries such as Basket Case Brewing Company and Schnitz Brewery & Pub are located.
A few attractions in Dubois County include the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in Jasper, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in nearby Santa Claus, Patoka Lake, Ferdinand National Forest, and the Hoosier National Forest. The majority of lodging options are a few miles north in Jasper.
The local population enjoys their time at the game with fun, excitement, and good baseball on the diamond. There is a lot of in-between promotions and cheers for the local college talent. There is also a small group of die-hard fans who sit down the third baseline that makes its presence felt when they think a strike should have been called against the visiting team. The group brings out props and engages in chants that are quite uncommon in the summer collegiate leagues.
League Stadium is located about 2.5 hours south of Indiana and is within 45 minutes of Evansville and 1.5 hours from Louisville, Kentucky. The closest major interstate is 6 miles south on I-64 and 25 miles west of I-69. Two-lane state roads might be your best option if coming in from the north. However, once inside the stadium, the concourses are wide and bathrooms and concessions are clearly marked.
Return on Investment 5
The price of a ticket starts at $5 and maxes out at $8 for the VIP bar suites. There is plenty of free parking around the ballpark that is located in the local community park and concession prices are fairly inexpensive that includes $3 hot dogs and beers. The theatrics that take place during the game from the Peaches, Casey, and public announcer really gives the stadium its soul and livens up the atmosphere.
League Stadium gets a point for its aesthetic that includes 1940’s advertisements on the outfield walls, hand operated scoreboard, old-school ticket designs, and players rayon uniforms. The stadium another points for the Peaches and Casey who entertain the crowd during the game from on-field promotions to dancing in the main concourse. The third point is for the free O’Doul’s beer that is offered for its designated driver program. The final point is for the old-fashioned, small town baseball experience that you can’t find throughout the state.
A wonderful and charming little stadium in southern Indiana that is somewhat of a drive for some in the state, but perhaps a drive that is well worth it since there is not quite another ballpark like it in the Hoosier State. League Stadium offers an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind in a small-town field that is indeed reminiscent of the 1940’s.