Bosse Field

From BR Bullpen

Bosse Field, Evansville, IN, was the home of Evansville affiliated baseball from 1915 through 1984. After that, the Evansville Triplets of the American Association moved into an existing ballpark in Nashville, TN, as the Nashville Sounds.

It also hosted Negro Leagues baseball in at least the 1920s.

In 1914, recently elected Evansville Mayor Benjamin Bosse bought 80 acres from a local family, then sold 10 to the Evansville School Board to build a stadium for the school and his professional baseball team. Bosse helped design the ballpark that bears his name - the first municipally owned stadium in the history of Organized Baseball. Construction cost $65,000 - $10,000 for the land, $50,000 for materials and labor, and $5,000 to city fees and ground improvements.

Bosse's terms in office were largely focused on civic improvements, and his most famous quote "When everyone Boosts, everyone wins" is still repeated today.

W. Scott Bailey wrote of Bosse Field: "A bricks and mortar shrine to all that used to be good about baseball."

Bosse Field immediately landed low-level minor-league baseball - as well as an NFL team during the 1921 and 1922 football seasons. The Lynchburg White Sox brought Double-A in 1966, but - being far north of the Southern League footprint - moved to Georgia in 1969. Triple-A followed in 1970, taking the nickname Triplets for the Indiana-Kentucky-Illinois tri-state. Nashville Sounds owner Larry Schmittou bought the Trips in 1984 - originally to swap locations, which would have returned Double-A to Evansville - but the city declined to renovate the 70-year-old ballpark. After rising through those ranks, it hosted only independent league baseball after the Triplets' 1984 departure - since 1995, the Evansville Otters.

It is one of the oldest standing baseball diamonds. In MLB, only the Boston Red Sox' Fenway Park (1912) and the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field (1914) are older. Rickwood Field in Birmingham, AL, is the oldest park still standing that ever hosted professional ball, and while it still hosts mostly amateur games it is today more museum than ballpark. The gates of Bosse Field opened on June 17, 1915, and remain open and providing professional baseball to the public to this day.

Bosse plays Horlick Field, home of the Racine Belles, in A League of Their Own (1992).

  • Location: 1701 N. Main St. Evansville, IN 47711
  • Current Team: Evansville Otters
  • 1915 Ticket Prices: Box Seats- $0.75, Grandstands- $0.50, Bleachers- $0.25
  • 2007 Ticket Prices: $5.00

Park Dimensions[edit]

  • Right Field Wall: 315 ft.
  • Center Field Walls: 415 ft., 455 ft., 476 ft.
  • Left Field Wall: 315 Ft.
  • Home plate was moved closer to the grandstand in 1938, lengthening the distance to dead center: there are NO recorded home runs which left the park to straight-away center.
  • The “Inner Fence” was installed in 1950, removed for the 1951, ’52, and ’53 seasons, then reinstalled in 1954.
  • Original Seating Capacity: 7,180 (opening night attendance 8,082)
  • Modern Seating Capacity: 5,110

Professional Baseball Teams Calling Bosse Field Home[edit]

Other Teams calling Bosse Field Home[edit]

Significant Events[edit]

  • 1925: The Three-I League adopted the practice of adding numbers to players’ jerseys to help fans better identify the players, and the Pocketeers became the first team to appear in numbered uniforms in Evansville.
  • September 1925: Louis Chado (pitcher, Decatur Commodores) died of “a ruptured artery in the brain”. The day prior to his death, Chado was struck in the head by a ball thrown by Evansville Pocketeers pitcher Elmer Gray. Chado left the field under his own power after (all accounts agree) “leaning into the pitch” - the beaning was NOT intentional.
  • 1930: $50,000 in school board-financed improvements.
  • 1957: Approximately $400,000 was spent on renovations to the ballpark to make it “fit and safe”.
  • 1971: Beer sales are permitted for the first time.
  • 1978: An electric scoreboard is installed. (Prior to that time, the scoreboard was operated manually by Marvin Gray.)
  • May 28, 2005: First Frontier League team to reach 1,000,000 fan plateau.

Related Links and Sources[edit]