Geronimo Park

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Geronimo Park
LocationApache Junction, Arizona
OwnerLost Dutchman's Baseball Association
OperatorHouston Colt .45s
TypeBaseball park
Capacity5,000
SurfaceNatural grass
Construction
Built1961
Opened5 December 1961 (1961-12-05)
Closed16 March 1963 (1963-03-16)
Demolished1969
Construction cost$150,000[1]
General contractorPG & R Engineering, Inc.[2]
Tenants
Houston Colt .45s (MLB/spring training) 1962–1963

Geronimo Park was a baseball park in Apache Junction, Arizona that was in use from 1962 until 1963. It lay vacant from 1963 until it was dismantled in 1969 after being sold to Mesa Public Schools. Its location is currently occupied by a lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose.[3] With a view of Superstition Mountains, it was the first spring training ball park of the Houston Colt .45s.[4]

History[edit]

Planning and construction[edit]

Geronimo Park was constructed on a 12-acre plot of desert land near Superstition Freeway in Apache Junction.[3] Despite there being little in unincorporated Apache Junction, the Superstition Ho Hotel was opened in September 1960 in an effort to capitalize on the nearby Apacheland Studio movie ranch.[5] Developer William W. Creighton, with financial backing from owners of the hotel, made promotional guarantees to team ownership which eventually resulted in an agreement for the Houston team to make Apache Junction their home for spring training.

Opening and use[edit]

Upon first arriving at the ball park, players complained of being unable to properly track baseballs, as the flat desert environment lacked landmarks to see the dimensions of the horizon.[6] It was reported that pitcher Turk Farrell hiked regularly from the Superstition Ho Hotel to Geronimo Park, and carried a .22 caliber pistol as he trekked across a vacant field of cactus and sagebrush, shooting snakes and beer cans as he made his way.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elston, Gene (March 7, 2002). "On the Apache Reservation - Former Home of Chief Geronimo". Astros Daily.
  2. ^ Broughton, David (March 15, 2004). "Early attempt withered in the desert". Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Sakal, Mike (February 8, 2012). "Fundraiser marks 50th anniversary of MLB in AJ". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  4. ^ Steckner, Susie (2012). Cactus League: Spring Training. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 9780738585345.
  5. ^ Martori, Art (July 8, 2006). "Apache Junction hotel no longer grand". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  6. ^ Herskowitz, Mickey (March 11, 1963). "The Land of the Nonbreaking Curveball". Sports Illustrated.
  7. ^ Herskowitz, Mickey (March 4, 2005). "Herskowitz: Reflecting fondly on an old Turf". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 3, 2017.