Baseball in Jackson

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If you want to see what a community can do when it works together toward a common goal, take a look at the new Whitey Herzog Stadium in Jackson. The first phase of the baseball complex is complete, and organizers are confident the final two phases will be done by 2010.

The idea for the ball field was born two years ago when two former teammates from the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league organization got together. One of them, Jack Litzelfelner Sr., is a Jackson resident and booster who saw a need for a new facility to replacing the existing 80-year-old field. The other was Whitey Herzog, former manager of both Major League Baseball teams in Missouri, the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals. Herzog not only got behind the plan, he has been a major contributor to the project.

The first phase of Herzog's namesake stadium -- land acquisition, a brick backstop, irrigation system and retaining wall -- cost $100,000, all funded by donations, from Herzog and the Jackson Optimist clubs.

Phase 2 -- grandstand seating, restrooms, press box, concessions stand and outfield fence -- will cost $150,000, with the funding coming from business sponsorships alongside the outfield fence. Phase 3 -- lighting, parking and scoreboard -- will cost another $100,000. with funding coming from donations, scoreboard sponsorships and tournament receipts.

Congratulations to everyone who has been a part of this project, which will result in one of the finest baseball stadiums around.

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