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RIGHT THERE IN HIS OWN BACKYARD
Roy Bongartz
September 20, 1976
A real-estate agent and ham salesman named Larry Luebbers, who once quit the seminary so he could listen to Reds games, went to old Crosley Field looking for souvenirs and wound up with most of the park
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September 20, 1976

Right There In His Own Backyard

A real-estate agent and ham salesman named Larry Luebbers, who once quit the seminary so he could listen to Reds games, went to old Crosley Field looking for souvenirs and wound up with most of the park

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As Luebbers drives around looking over real-estate deals in the neighboring communities—Sugar Tit, Rabbit Hash, Big Bone Lick—or checks on supplies of country hams in stores in northern Kentucky, he seems to be a man who has found a certain peace, and the fact that few visitors from outside of Union come to his field does not bother him. He seems disposed to keep his Crosley Field private. His ball park gives him a chance to do a lot of things he likes. "I take the kids on Lubie's team into the old locker room and yell at them," he says. "They need a lot of instruction. But some of the parents worry about me treating them too rough. Well, the parents can't hear me in there." He's got a mud slide, which he never had as a kid, and in the hallway of his house, which runs the length of the ground floor, he has a batting machine. "I always wanted to be able to play strikeout in the house when I was a kid," he says. Now he and Lubie hit balls all winter, and the windows on both sides of the entrance door are patched with sheet metal and cardboard.

"People think I must be getting a tax write-off, but it's not so," Luebbers says. "All I've made so far is $2.50 on the Coke machine, and I've sold four $25 season tickets." (Such benefactors get a Crosley Field chair with their name painted on the back.)

Other stadiums have disappeared in recent years, some leaving barely a trace: Braves Field in Boston, Griffith Stadium in Washington, Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia, Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, the Polo Grounds in New York, Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Crosley Field was torn down, too, yet it lives on in Larry Luebbers' backyard.

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