LaGrave Field

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LaGrave Field
LaGrave Field
Location 301 NE 6th St
Fort Worth, TX 76106 Coordinates: 32°46′08.48″N 97°20′12.30″W / 32.7690222°N 97.3367500°W / 32.7690222; -97.3367500
Owner FW Stadium Group, LLC
Operator Panther City Baseball, LLC
Capacity 4,100 fixed seats (2002)
Field size Left Field - 325 ft (99.1 m)
Center Field - 400 ft (121.9 m)
Right Field - 335 ft (102.1 m)
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground December 3, 2001
Opened May 23, 2002
Construction cost $4 million USD
Architect Anglea Sports Fields
Tenants
Fort Worth Cats (Central Baseball League) (2002–2005)
Fort Worth Cats (American Association) (2006-2011)
Fort Worth Cats (North American League) (2012-Present)
Texas Wesleyan University (Red River Athletic Conference)

LaGrave Field is a stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. It is primarily used for baseball, and is the home field of the Fort Worth Cats independent minor league baseball team. Its original version was the home of the predecessor Panthers/Cats team of the Texas League, during 1926–1958; the American Association in 1959; and then in Texas League again in 1964. It also served as the part-time home of the Dallas Rangers during 1960–1962. The ballpark was rebuilt during 2001, and opened in 2002 after the club played one season at Lon Goldstein Field.

The ballpark sits on land bounded by a parking lot and then North Calhoun Street (southwest, first base); Northeast 6th Street (if extended) (southeast, right field); Northeast 7th Street (if extended) (northwest, third base); and the banks of a branch of the Trinity River (northeast, left field). The imaginary line running from home plate through second base runs roughly east-southeast.

Beginning in May 2014, LaGrave Field will host home games for the Fort Worth Vaqueros FC of the National Premier Soccer League expansion team in Fort Worth.[1]

History[edit]

LaGrave Field opened in 1926, replacing Panther Park, which had been opened in 1900 and was located on the "west side of North Main Street, a few blocks from" the eventual LaGrave Field.[2] Panther Park, in turn, had replaced Hayne's Park, located "in the 'Prairie' area near downtown".

After winning consecutive Texas League championships during 1919–1925, the club owners decided to build a new ballpark, which was named for the club's principal owner, Paul LaGrave. It turns out that the last year of the old ballpark was also the last year of the Panthers/Cats string of league titles, but the club would go on to win several more league titles in the 1930s and 1940s.

Early in the 1949 season, on May 15–16, the ballpark was attacked on several fronts, by a destructive fire and then rains and floods. The ballpark was rebuilt and rededicated in time for the 1950 season.

After baseball left the city in 1965, the site languished for years, but parts of it remained. When the site was rebuilt during 2001, the original dugouts were retained and renovated as dugout suites, making LaGrave the only ballpark in America to house "four dugouts".[3] The original location of home plate was also retained.[3]

Even at that, the ballpark was planned to be only a temporary site, to be replaced by an 8 million USD stadium owned by the Fort Worth Sports Authority; however that plan never materialized, due to soil contamination and water pollution at the city-owned site[4]

Recent financial challenges[edit]

In February 2010, former Fort Worth Cats owner Carl Bell defaulted on $30 million in notes with LaGrave Field as collateral. Although Amegy Bank had the right to foreclose on the field and some of the adjacent acreage, the bank did not decide to immediately exercise that right.[5]

Former owner Carl Bell also owed over $195,000 USD in property taxes and penalties for 2010 and sought a buyer for the stadium[6]

A scheduled (January 3, 2012) foreclosure auction was averted due to a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing by LaGrave Reconstruction Company[7]

Several months later, the debt holder Amegy Bank of Houston finally completed foreclosure and became the landlord of the Cats.[8]

On Tuesday, October 2, 2012 it was announced that LaGrave Field had been bought by an affiliate of the team's new ownership group for $4.5 million USD.[9]

Members of Baseball's Hall of Fame[edit]

A sign outside the field states the following information:

Nearly 50 members of The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown have played at LaGrave Field throughout the years
Hank Aaron Leo Durocher Johnny Mize
Sparky Anderson Bob Feller Stan Musial
Luke Appling Charlie Gehringer Herb Pennock
Richie Ashburn Chick Hafey Pee Wee Reese
Yogi Berra Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson
Jim Bottomley Rogers Hornsby Jackie Robinson
Lou Boudreau Carl Hubbell Babe Ruth
Roy Campanella Monte Irvin Red Schoendienst
Earl Combs Ralph Kiner George Sisler
Kiki Cuyler Tony Lazerri Duke Snider
Bill Dickey Bob Lemon Warren Spahn
Joe DiMaggio Heine Manush Pie Traynor
Larry Doby Eddie Mathews Lloyd Waner
Bobby Doerr Willie Mays Paul Waner
Don Drysdale Willie McCovey Dick Williams
Ted Williams

Additional Uses[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]