Evansville Otters



American professional ballparks older than Bosse Field:


·         Fenway Park in Boston (1912)

·         Wrigley Field in Chicago (1914)


Original construction costs:


$10,000           10 Acres of land at southeast corner of Garvin Park

$50,000           Materials and labor

$5,000             City fees (grounds, improvements, etc.)


$65,000           TOTAL


Bosse Field was built as a SCHOOL BOARD PROJECT (first municipally owned athletic facility in the United States).


School board members at the time included:

·         Abraham Strouse

·         Charles B. Enlow

·         Daniel Wertz

·         Howard Roosa

·         The Reverand J.V. Schneider presented the stadium to the people of Evansville on behalf of the School Board.


The ballpark was named for Benjamin Bosse, then Mayor, in honor of his “great encouragement and support.”


This greatly affected the development of an athletic program in the local schools.


Seating capacity: 7,180


A total of 8,082 were on hand for Opening Day in 1915


Seat prices:


$0.75   Box Seats

$0.50   Grandstand

$0.25   Bleachers


First game: EVAS DEFEATED ERIE 4-0


The winning pitcher was Fromholtz and portable lights were installed around a wrestling ring on “The Night of Opening Day”; reportedly another 1,500 attendees (10,000 + both events).


The Dimensions:


Current Outfield Wall Lengths:

Left Field: 315 Feet

Center Field: 415 Feet

Right Field: 315 Feet


Seating Capacity: 5,110


Home plate was moved closer to the grandstand in 1938, lengthening the distance to dead center field. There are NO recorded home runs which left the park in straight-away center (not even Hank Greenberg).


“Inner Fence” was installed in 1950, removed for the 1951-1953 seasons, then reinstalled in 1954.


Benjamin Bosse


Elected in 1913

His most famous quote: “When everybody boosts, everybody wins.”

Challenged citizens to develop civic pride.


Civic Improvements that were completed during Bosse’s years as mayor:

·         Horse drawn fire carriages were replaced.

·         The Evansville Police Department moved into a separate Police Station (previously in the city offices).

·         Most downtown streets were paved (brick).

·         Improved public markets were built in several locations.

·         The Public Recreation Department was formed and – in addition to creating both Garvin Park and Mesker Parks – built Evansville’s first public playgrounds, tennis courts, and swimming pools.


Prominent Evansville Local Businesses in 1915:


Strouse’s: Clothing

DeJong’s: Clothing

Harding & Miller: Music

Smith & Butterfield: Office Sundries

Finke Furniture: One of 41 furniture factories in business in the years 1912-1916


Popular music of the time:

“Hello Hawaii, How are You?”

“I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier”


Other Old Evansville Facts:


The First Boy Scout Troop in town was formed in 1910

The YMCA Building (began in 1912) was dedicated in 1914

Hotel McCurdy opened June 6, 1917

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum was completed in March of 1917


Bosse Field Facts: Players


Hall of Famers who played at the historic ballpark include:

·         Hank Greenberg: The longtime Detroit Tiger played for the 1931 Evansville Hubs, was a two-time MVP and World Champion. He entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in 1956.

·         Chuck Klein: The Indianapolis native suited up for the 1927 Hubs, won a triple crown (1933) and MVP award (1932) with the Philadelphia Phillies and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

·         Edd Roush: The Oakland City native was a member of two Evansville teams (1912 Yankees and ’13 River Rats) and was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

·         Warren Spahn:  Played with the Evansville Bees in 1941. He would go on to win 360 games in the majors, and secure a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1973.

·         Bob Uecker: Played for the 1957 Evansville Braves, won a world championship in 1964 with the St. Louis Cardinals and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 as a baseball broadcaster.


Bosse Field Facts: Teams & Leagues


Home to:

·         Otters: 1995 to present (Frontier League)

·         Triplets: 1970 to 1984 (American Association)

·         White Sox:  1966 to 1968 (Southern League)

·         Braves: 1946 to 1957 (Three-I League)

·         Detroit Tigers Spring Training Camp: 1942 to 1945 (American League)

·         Bees: 1938 to 1942 (Three-I League)

·         Hubs: 1926 to 1930 (Three-I League)

·         Pocketeers: 1924 to 1925 (Three-I League)

·         Little Evas: 1923 (Three-I League)

·         Crimson Giants: 1921 to 1922 (National Football League)

·         Black Sox: 1919 (Three-I League)

·         Evas: 1916 to 1917 (Central League)

·         River Rats: 1914 to 1915 (Central League)


Bosse Field: Significant Events


·         1925: Three-I League adopted the practice of adding numbers to players’ jerseys to help fans better identify the players, and the Pocketeers became the first team to appear in numbered uniforms in Evansville history.

·         September 1925: Pitcher Louis Chado (Decatur) died of “a ruptured artery in the brain.” The day prior to his death, Chado was struck in the head on a ball thrown by Evansville pitcher Elmer Gray. Chado left the field under his own power after (what all accounts agree) “leaning into the pitch.” The beaning was not intentional.

·         1930: $50,000 in School Board funds used to finance improvements at Historic Bosse Field.

·         August 12, 1931: In the first night game ever played at Bosse Field, the Evansville Hubs lost to Decatur 7-6.

·         1957: Approximately $400,000 was spent on renovations to the ballpark in order to make it “fit and safe.”

·         April 1966: Chicago White Sox (parent club of the Evansville White Sox) played the Cincinnati Reds in an exhibition game at Bosse Field. The “standing room only” crowd of 5,714 was reported.

·         1971:  Beer sales permitted for the first time.

·         1978:  Electronic scoreboard was installed (previously, the scoreboard was manual and operated by Marvin Gray, the current Frontier League Flag Chairman.)

·         August 30, 1984:  Last Triplets game.

·         June 15, 1995:  First Evansville Otters game.

·         May 28, 2005: First Frontier League team to reach 1,000,000 fan plateau.

·         2006: The Evansville Otters host the 2006 Frontier League All Star Game and win the Frontier League Championship for the first time in franchise history. 

·         May 23, 2012: The Otters defeated the Southern Illinois Miners 5-4 at home, clinching their 700th win in Frontier League history, a feat never accomplished before that point.

·         July 24, 2013: Largest Crowd ever at Bosse Field - 8,253  

·        August 18, 2013: Otters welcome their 2,000,000th fan