Photo Essay

Loeb Stadium: A Dying Glimpse Into a Bygone Era

Loeb Stadium Seating Bowl

The game of baseball is glorious, no doubt about it, but as time progressed it seems that some of the tradition has gone with it. Today, almost every ballpark is named after a large corporation, along with the concourses and even sections of seating. Every inning or strikeout is sponsored by a different company. Along with the excessive advertisement, the grand organs have been replaced with today's pop music and the displays have gotten too flashy. Baseball has lost its charm.

Let's take a trip to Lafayette, Indiana. In between a water park and miniature zoo about two and a half miles away from Purdue University sits a small, unassuming ballpark. Loeb Stadium, which has been in constant use since its construction in 1940 takes us back to a bygone era of baseball.

Imagine walking into the main entryway and instantly smelling the stale beer and brats on the grill. Walk a few yards to the first entry tunnel and take in the sights of the beautifully manicured field while the scent of the freshly cut grass tickles your nose.

There's a couple men sitting in their box seats (more like bleachers) behind home plate smoking a cigar. This is a big affair, as Jackie Robinson is in town. People will fill this 3,000 seat ballpark to the brim. You're a bright-eyed kid walking around taking in the sites. You see more and more people showing up. Some have traveled from other towns like Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, and other municipalities hoping to get a glimpse of this polarizing ballplayer.

Loeb Stadium is the only ballpark with lights in the area with the exception of Perry Stadium in Indianapolis, so the game is set to begin at 7 o' clock sharp. They wanted to play the game in Indianapolis, but the Indians are playing at home tonight.

As Mr. Robinson steps up to the plate, there are cheer and boo's both, but one thing is for sure: Jackie can play! He put on quite a show and I'm sure those who stayed in Indianapolis wished they went to Loeb Stadium for the night instead.

Now, let's flash-forward to 2019. Loeb Stadium is still in use by a local high school team and a Prospect League club. The field is still in immaculate condition, but the stadium itself is dying, literally. Besides showing its age, this is its twilight season.

The Prospect League club decided to tear it down at the end of the season to make a new ballpark with all the bells and whistles instead of repairing the old ballpark. It, too will be called Loeb Stadium but like the new parks, every aspect of the game will have a commercialized feel. The field will be all artificial turf and the luxury suites will dominate the stadium instead of the green bleachers.

Tradition in baseball is dying, but Loeb Stadium is one of the few remaining time capsules to the past, until August 7th that is. Come visit while you have the chance and maybe Jackie Robinson will take a seat next to you as he admires a stadium he played in during the beginning of his career for the final time.

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Hi there!

thought you might like this story!

http://jpgmag.com/stories/20277

Thanks,
—The JPG team

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