Shea Stadium (Peoria, Illinois)

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Shea Stadium
Former names Meinen Field (1970–1992)
Vonachen Stadium (1992–2002)
Location 1523 W. Nebraska Ave., Peoria, Illinois
Coordinates 40°42′35″N 89°37′6″W / 40.70972°N 89.61833°W / 40.70972; -89.61833Coordinates: 40°42′35″N 89°37′6″W / 40.70972°N 89.61833°W / 40.70972; -89.61833
Owner Bradley University
Operator Bradley University
Capacity 3,800
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1968
Opened 1970
Renovated 1982, 1992, 2002
Tenants
Bradley Braves (NCAA) (1970–present)
Baseball (1970–2002)
Soccer (2003–present)
Peoria Chiefs (MWL) (1983–2002)

Shea Stadium is a former baseball stadium located in Peoria, Illinois, less than a mile north of Bradley University and just to the west of the USDA National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research. Converted to a soccer-specific facility in 2003, it is owned and operated by Bradley University and is the home of the Bradley Braves men's and women's soccer teams.[1]

History[edit]

The property broke ground around 1968[2] and opened as a baseball facility in 1970 for Bradley University Braves baseball. Its name was chosen to honor Bradley athletic director and baseball coach John "Dutch" Meinen.[3] It served as the home field for Bradley baseball for 32 years, from 1970 to 2002,[4] and the home field for the Peoria Chiefs from their first game on April 19, 1983 to 2002.

The Peoria Chiefs in action at the then-named Meinen Field in 1990

The baseball field was renovated twice: once in 1982,[3] and once in 1992[2] when it was given a $2,200,000 overhaul.[5] The facility was renamed Pete Vonachen Stadium at Meinen Field on June 6, 1992, in honor of the Chiefs' owner.[2]

After the teams moved to O'Brien Field early in the 2002 season, the university began to look for other uses for Meinen Field, eventually settling on its current setup as a soccer-only facility. It was substantially reconfigured, with a few remnants of its baseball days remaining: the old press box; most of the first-base seating area, which now forms the main seating area for the soccer field; some of the light standards; and the concession stands and some other outbuildings on the property.

On October 25, 2002, Meinen Field was renamed Shea Stadium after Tim Shea, a Bradley University alumnus. The first Bradley soccer game at the newly renovated Shea Stadium was in August 2003.[4]

On June 10, 2008, Shea Stadium played host to two Major League Soccer teams in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier when the Chicago Fire played against the Columbus Crew in front 3,829 people, the largest crowd ever to see a soccer game at Shea Stadium.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.bradleybraves.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=3400&ATCLID=130294[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Story of Baseball in Peoria". 2007-01-22. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  3. ^ a b Dinda, Joel (2008-01-20). "Peoria's Vonachen Stadium and O'Brien Stadium". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  4. ^ a b "Shea Stadium". 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  5. ^ "Peoria Baseball". Historic Peoria. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  6. ^ "Crew can't put out Fire". 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-06-11. [dead link]