Sullivan Field scoreboard finds a new home

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Over the past few decades, he’s told the story of countless games by the numbers.

But the elements and changes in technology have taken their toll on the ’90s scoreboard at Sullivan Field, known to most locals as Valley Field before being renamed for local baseball icon Bob Sullivan in around the same time the panel was installed.

“The city installed new bulbs last year. But they are all incandescent bulbs and the radio control no longer worked”, Paul Soltysiak, Valley Field fanssaid.

The ballpark, which opened in 1937, is experiencing something of a renaissance.

Owned by the City of Grand Rapids, Valley Field fans have taken it upon themselves to raise funds to preserve the park. Upgrades are in progress making the field a part of future generations, not only for baseball but for other community events. This included a new dashboard, which was a gift from Meijer.

Enter Mitten Brewery co-owner Chris Andrus.

“It was probably destined for scrap if not for that kind of happenstance,” Andrus said of the scoreboard, now the city behind his Leonard Street brewery.

Mitten’s charitable arm, the Mitten Foundation, held a Wiffle ball tournament in Valley some time ago and where the old sign was located, its future is uncertain.

“We saw the scoreboard laying there on the side of the pitch and we said what’s the story with that?” Andrus said. “Paul said, ‘Do you guys want that?’ I said, ‘can we have that?’

The rest is history, preserved.

Mitten’s baseball theme extends from the interior to the exterior of the brewery, located in a former city fire station built in 1899. Andrus plans to mount the sign on a large frame on the wall outside. back of the brewery, facing the baseball-themed exterior. service area.

“There are very few baseball landmarks on the west side. We believe that if anyone is going to end up somewhere, it should be here,” Andrus said.

Now, a piece of the field where Satchel Paige once took to the mound and where dozens of players have passed en route to the major leagues has a new west side home.

“A lot of people come here for a beer who played at Sullivan Field and recognize that,” Andrus said. “It’s a West Side tradition.”

Andrus is currently working with the city’s Historic Commission and subway signage and lighting to pave the way for the installation, which he hopes will happen in the next few weeks.

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