Ainsworth Field



Exterior of Ainsworth Field, Sep-2004.

The main seating bowl, as seen from deep right field.

Fans watching the game from behind the plate are stuck with a thick Cyclone-fence-style screen.

Quick Facts:
Erie had plenty of teams, mostly called the Sailors, prior to 1947, when Ainsworth Field was dedicated behind Roosevelt School. The school is visible beyond right field; a fire escape leads directly onto the field. I do not know whether the field was used for professional baseball prior to its dedication.

By the mid-1960s, the facility had fallen into disrepair, and professional baseball ignored it for a decade and a half until renovations were completed during the 1980 season. This ushered in another period of use by the New York-Penn League. Again, though, the park deteriorated, and the Sailors left after 1993, moving 400 miles east and becoming the Hudson Valley Renegades at a new park in Fishkill, N.Y. The Frontier League came in and used the park for one season before the Welland Pirates moved south to a new park in Erie, calling themselves the SeaWolves.

The seating bowl consists of eight sections, all elevated from the field, with the dugouts cut into the bowl. This is similar to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. The press box is within the bowl, directly behind the plate. There is no home-plate portal. Presumably at one time, portals led to a concession and souvenir area under the grandstand. These have been filled in, however.

I had assumed that the locker rooms were probably also under the grandstand; however, site visitor Andy Postema, who played for the Sailors in 1990, tells me the locker rooms were in the school gymnasium. Rooms marked “Umpires’ Room” and “Ground Crew” are in a separate building down the third-base line which also contains rest rooms. Bleachers extend the seating capacity down each foul line; in each bleacher, the wood planks are rotting away from the steel structure.

When I arrived, a contractor had suspended a job for a holiday weekend. He was apparently water-blasting the structure in preparation for painting. While the field appeared to be in disuse, it is clear that the city intends to keep utilizing it for amateur games.


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