It would be easy
to wipe away the tears and call the 1990 Academy Award nominee film Field of
Dreams just a fantasy. But only if you haven't been to Crosley Field
original Crosley Field, home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 to 1970, was
demolished in 1972, and on its site now stands an industrial park. But drive 15
miles north to Blue Ash and there it is: Crosley Field, back from the
38, Blue Ash's city manager, is the real-life counterpart of Ray Kinsella, the
fictional Iowa farmer who resurrected his father and his father's favorite
players by constructing a ball field in Field of Dreams. Like Kinsella,
Thompson thought that if Crosley was rebuilt, someone would come, look and
play. Unlike Kinsella, he was not considered crazy; in fact, a whole town
believed in him. "Marvin's never steered us wrong before," says Blue
Ash mayor Robert Schueler, who figured that, at the least, Thompson's idea
would give the city something no one else had.
soon found he was not alone in his dream; more than 3,000 people came out for
the dedication of the new Crosley, an occasion that featured a Reds old-timers'
game on July 11, 1988. Last summer the old-timers' game at Crosley drew 5,000
people for what will be an annual August event.
the only ones getting familiar with the park. The new Crosley is also used by
many people who never saw the original, including two local high school teams,
a summer college league, advanced knothole baseball teams and others lucky
enough to be able to reserve time on the field.
The appeal of the
park is the detail that Thompson has put into his replica. The new park
duplicates old Crosley's outfield dimensions (328 feet down the leftfield line,
366 down right and 387 straightaway center); it has that famed rising terrace
(instead of a warning track, Crosley's outfield had a 4-foot upward slope to
the outfield wall); and it has the same 58-foot-tall scoreboard in left center.
In addition, 300 seats from the old park have been refurbished to form a small
the Reds' leftfielder from 1952 to 1955, came from his Marietta, Ga., home to
play in last year's old-timers' game and loved what he saw: "They said
something about Crosley Field, but I didn't think it would be like this. Johnny
Temple [ Cincinnati second baseman from 1952 to '59 and in '64] and I almost
cried out there, looking at the old scoreboard and terrace." A breath
later, Greengrass adds, " Rogers Hornsby [the Reds manager in 1952 and '53]
used to run us up that damned terrace a hundred times a day."
"It was built
as a reminder of the past," says Jim O'Toole, who pitched for the Reds from
1958 to '66 and has been loosely linked to the project since its inception.
"Any father from around here enjoys watching his kid play at this Crosley
because he remembers his father taking him to the real Crosley as a kid."
O'Toole's point is well-taken, because that's how this whole thing got
native of Miamisburg, 45 miles north of Cincinnati, fell in love with the Reds
shortly after his father, Walter, took him to Crosley in the early 1960s. The
Reds responded to the boy's devotion by repeatedly breaking his heart, the most
crushing blow being their loss of the pennant to St. Louis on the final day of
the 1964 season.