A famous field gets a second life thanks in part to baseball vet Wade Boggs.
Growing up, before storied stints with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, Hall of Famer Wade Boggs played ball in cow pastures and vacant lots, using inner tubes and cardboard boxes as bases. Next spring, Boggs and investment group Go the Distance Baseball will provide youth baseball and softball teams from around the world with All-Star Ballpark Heaven, a state-of-the-art complex featuring 24 tournament fields, indoor workout and training rooms, and lodging. But what makes this project even more special is that the entire complex will be situated in Dyersville, Iowa, just a mile north of the cornfield featured in the modern-day classic baseball film Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner. The field, imbued with ghosts of baseball past (at least according to the 1989 film), along with the rest of the 193-acre property, had long been for sale, when Boggs and company made a bottom-of-the-ninth save. “We’re keeping the field, the house, the barn, all of the corn,” says the 54-year-old, 12-time All-Star third baseman. “You don’t kill the field of dreams. We want the next major leaguers to come out of this place.”
To that end, Boggs will make regular visits to Ballpark Heaven, occasionally leading clinics and coaching workshops after the $75 million site’s phase-one grand opening in May 2014, which Boggs hopes to kick off with an outdoor, on-field screening of the Oscar-nominated film. The complex is already picking up steam, generating some much-needed economic activity in the region; shortly after the project was announced, 60 teams from around the country signed up for tournament play, with more joining each week. “We built it, and they’re coming,” Boggs says, paraphrasing the film’s most memorable line of dialogue.
Ballpark Heaven will also offer plenty of room for families to enjoy the cornfield vistas’ natural beauty and the simple pleasures of baseball itself. “One of the big takeaways for me from the movie was that everybody just wants to play catch with their dad. We all do, don’t we?” Boggs opines. “I hope to see a lot of that there too. It’s a slice of Americana.”