4th Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament

The Friends of the Warren Ballpark is hosting the 4th Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Baseball Tournament, Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, Sunday April 7th, 2013 at Bisbee’s 104 year-old Historic Warren Ballpark, the REAL Field of Dreams in Bisbee, Arizona. Gates open at 10:00 A.M. on both Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy old style base ball played by 1860 rules. Click here to buy tickets on line.

Join fellow cranks–the 1800’s term for fans–as the teams take the field wearing old-style uniforms to play the game as it was played 140 years ago! At least six teams will be playing in this year’s tournament. Five Arizona Territory Vintage Base Ball League teams including our local team, the Bisbee Black Sox are featured. Also, last year’s fan’s favorite, the Colorado All-Stars team, is returning.

The two-day event is dedicated to Earl Wilson, John McGraw, and Tony Antista. Earl Wilson started his professional career as a catcher in 1953 with the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings. He went on to pitch a no-hitter for the Red Sox in 1962. After being traded to Detroit, Earl Wilson won 22 games for the Tigers in 1967. Jim “Mudcat” Grant, the first African-American 20 game pitcher and author of The Black Aces will be present to talk about Earl Wilson’s career.

Warren Ballpark is the ballpark in Bisbee, AZ where John McGraw, the manager of the New York Giants, and company stopped to play an exhibition game on their way around the world in 1913. A ferocious player and equally ferocious manager, McGraw won ten National League pennants in thirty seasons with the Giants. A record surpassed only by Casey Stengel.

The hottest hitter in the southwest in 1930, Tony Antista, the “Walloping Wop” was also one of the smallest men on the diamond, the game’s finest musician and the friend of a future president. The Friends will honor Antista, one of the best ballplayers to step up to the plate in a Bisbee uniform, at this year’s Copper City Classic Vintage base Ball Tournament.

This year the tournament will also commemorate the New York Giants-Chicago White Sox 1913-1914 world tour that stopped to play a game at Warren Ballpark. Jim Elfers, author of The Tour to End All Tours will be present to talk about his book on the world tour.

“Mudcat” Grant and Jim Elfers along with ballpark historian Mike Anderson will be speaking on Saturday night, April 6th at 7:00 p.m. The presentation is free at 555 Restaurant, 202 Tombstone Canyon in Old Bisbee. Reservations are suggested; call 520.432.3813.

Ticket prices are $10 for a single day and $15 for both days; children age 12 and under are free with an adult ticket. Active military free on Sunday, April 7th. Along with plenty of baseball, you will find family fun, favorite baseball food, hot dogs, sodas, cold beer and souvenirs. This year, the Old Bisbee Brewing Company will be serving-up their special brand of beer. Local vendors will be providing scrumptious “park” food.

Proceeds benefit Warren Ballpark Restoration.

With the help of our Friends, Indiegogo Campaign hit a game-winning Grand Slam

The Friends of Warren Ballpark, a non-profit organization are pleased to announce that we hit game winning grand slam with our Indiegogo Campaign We set a goal to raise $6000 and raised $6136. With the help of many friends who both contributed and spread the word the campaign was a success. In addition to the Indiegogo donations, the Friends received another $1500 in other donations. We received many local donations but also had donations from as far away as England.

We are raising funds to replace the existing deteriorated 75-year-old restrooms with modern, ADA accessible restrooms that are estimated to cost $90,000. The funds will be used for matching funds as we continue to search for grant money.

A tip of the hat and a hearty “huzzah” (1860 base ball parlance for thank you) from the Friends of Warren. And remember ghosts of old ballplayers don’t need restrooms but real people do.

Installation of Baseball Sculpture

The baseball sculpture commemorating the long history of baseball at Warren ballpark and providing park identification is in place. Soon a sign recognizing the long history of football will also be installed. The Friends of Warren Ballpark are proud of this accomplishment. The baseball sign was designed to fit in with the historic nature of the ballpark and looks as if it has been in place since 1909 when the park was built.

There are many folks who helped the Friends make this happen. First and foremost, we would not exist without the sponsorship of the Bisbee Council on the Arts and Humanities. The sculpture was a joint effort between the Cochise College Welding Technology and Art Departments; thank you Randy Fox and Tate Rich. The school district has been a wonderful partner; thank you members of the Governing Board, Superintendent Jim Phillips, High School Principal Lisa Holland and Athletic Director Darin Giltner. A huge thanks goes to the school district maintenance staff. We are grateful to all the assistance provided by Steve Kemery and his crew Richard Moots and Mike Rawlings. Civil Engineer, Lynn Kartchner provided the engineering for the sculpture installation. Freeport McMoran provided the crane to lift the over 1500 pound sculpture in to place; thanks go to Mike Jaworski and Terry Maddux. The City of Bisbee also worked cooperatively with the Friends to facilitate the permit process. Thanks go to the Planning Commission and City Council and the permitting staff John Charlie, Bob Mesquit and Lisa Marra. Steve Pauken, Bisbee City Manager took the wonderful sculpture installation photos.

The Friends are raising funds for accessible public bathrooms.

Warren Ballpark’s Bathrooms, The Before Photos

The current bathrooms are ancient and not handicapped accessible. They can’t be upgraded without compromising the historic grandstand. The Friends are raising funds and applying for grants to build free-standing modern bathrooms to replace the aging bathrooms. Please help. Any size donation is welcomed.

2012 Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament

The Friends of Warren Ballpark’s 2012 Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament was a great success, thanks to our many volunteers, players, vendors and those who attended as “cranks” (fans).

We thank the ballists of the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League, the Glendale Gophers, Phoenix Senators, Bisbee Bees and Tucson Saguaros along with the local team the Bisbee Black Sox. This year we were honored to have two out-state-teams the Colorado All-Stars and the Springfield Long Nine who traveled long distances to enliven the tournament with their colorful uniforms and particular brand of vintage base ball.

Pat Kelly of the Tombstone Vigilantes kept the players and cranks in line as arbitrator while officiating the Saturday games. John Everhart served as the tally master when, in the tradition of 1860’s baseball, a player rang a bell to indicate they “tallied an ace” (scored a run). Members of the Busch family (Lance Busch captains the Gophers) also served as arbitrator and tally master on Saturday and Sunday.

The tournament honored ballplayers Syd Cohen and Charlie Metro past ballists at Warren Ballpark. We were privileged that Elena Metro, Charlie’s daughter, attended the tournament to throw out a first pitch and provide personal information about her Dad’s career.

We had several announcers who kept the cranks informed and entertained. Tom Nelson and Dave Cartun announced in the mornings. Matt Raisman from Cherry Creek Radio kept up a lively patter with the teams during the afternoon games.

We can’t thank the Moose’s Hotdog crew enough. Luis Chavez, Tom and Dora-Lee Clark, Rickie Polidora and Jodie Ryan stepped up as the only food vendor when another vendor was unable to participate. We are grateful to the old Bisbee Brewing Company for providing their freshly made local beer and root beer.

Bisbee Unified School District was great to work with. Roy Lopez always a pleasure to work with opened and closed the field and kept the restrooms clean and supplied.

A big tip of our baseball caps and a very loud “huzzah!” goes to our many sponsors and to our volunteers who provided security, sold tickets and beer, ran raffles and planned the event. This letter would be much longer if all were named but thank you so much. Everyone’s participation was valued.  The funds raised will be used as matching funds for grants to help fund our next project, construction of accessible public restrooms.