Today’s ballpark of the past is SPAR Stadium, former home to pro ball in Shreveport, built in 1935 and still a working ballpark thanks to the efforts of the good folks at Galilee Baptist Church.
The ballpark was the predecessor to Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport, home to various Southern Association and Texas League teams. It was built in 1935 in Shreveport’s West End and went under several names through the years — Gassers Park, Texas League Park, Braves Field, Bonneau Peters Stadium, Gaedke’s Gardens — while various future pros made their way through farm systems. (We like Gaedke’s Gardens the best: it was named for groundskeeper Al Gaedke, who set up miniature golf in the offseason and using the field to graze a herd of goats.) Pro ball was played there between 1938 (when the Texas League came to town) and 1986, when a Texas League team moved to Fair Grounds Field.
It’s now officially known as Galilee Stewart-Belle Stadium, in honor of local baseball greats Riley Stewart and Albert Belle — still a working ballpark and part of the community. Much of the grandstand (including the distinctive canopy) and the press box were torn down, but there are plenty of reminders of the way the ballpark looked in the old days. It was the focal point for a local group remembering the old West End before freeway construction tore the neighborhood in two. Bob Busser has a nice page on how the ballpark looked in 1988 before further changes were made.
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