It’s the second-oldest Minor League Ballpark still in use, but today BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field is number one after it won Ballpark Digest’s Best of the Ballparks 2016 fan competition, as the site’s readers chose the home of the Williamsport Crosscutters as their favorite Short Season A facility.
This is the second year for Ballpark Digest’s fan vote. Last year BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field finished second in the Best of the Ballparks to Monongalia County Ballpark, home of the West Virginia Black Bears. This year the pair met up once again in the final round of voting, and this time BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field came out on top by a 61%-39% margin.
“With a rich history dating back to 1926, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field is certainly one of the most traditional ballparks in all of baseball,” said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. “It retains the classic baseball grandstand while offering fans great modern amenities, and improvements in recent years—including a new premium deck down the right-field line—have only improved the game-day experience.”
“If you close your eyes and envision a ballpark of a bygone era, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field remains as one of the last, great, romantic stadiums in America,” said Williamsport Crosscutters Principal Owner Peter Freund. “And as we continue to modernize the park with what fans have come to expect today, we have remained very cognizant of not losing the intimacy and history that makes it such a special place.
“On behalf of the entire Crosscutters organization, we are humbled by the honor bestowed upon us by Ballpark Digest and all the fans who voted.”
BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field has hosted Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia A’s, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies prospects over the years. It’s a ballpark receiving community support more than once over the years, with locals stepping in to upgrade the facility at crucial times. That support shows in the strength of this year’s Best of the Ballparks vote.
“Short Season A is a fascinating classification when it comes to ballparks, as there’s such a wide variety of facilities—older Triple-A ballparks, new ballparks built for short-season play, and classic ballparks dating back to the 1920s and 1930s,” Reichard added. “We love the classic ballparks, and BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field is certainly a classic ballpark. From hosting MLB barnstorming teams to featuring future stars like Dick Allen, Jim Bunning, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Bautista, fans in Williamsport have been treated to some great baseball and great experiences over the years.”
Over 125,000 fans have voted so far in the Best of the Ballparks 2016 competition. Champions in Triple-A (Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville Bats), Double-A (Blue Wahoos Stadium, Pensacola Blue Wahoos), High-A (BB&T Ballpark, Winston-Salem Dash), Low-A (Parkview Field, Fort Wayne TinCaps), independent baseball (TD Bank Ballpark, Somerset Patriots) and summer collegiate (Kokomo Municipal Stadium, Kokomo Jackrabbits) were announced in June and July.
Here is the ranking used at the beginning of the vote:
1. Monongalia County Ballpark (West Virginia Black Bears; NYP)
2. Bowman Field (Williamsport Crosscutters; NYP)
3. Ripken Stadium (Aberdeen IronBirds; NYP)
4. Centennial Field (Vermont Lake Monsters; NYP)
5. MCU Park (Brooklyn Cyclones; NYP)
6. Ron Tonkin Field (Hillsboro Hops; NWL)
7. Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (State College Spikes; NYP)
8. Nat Bailey Stadium (Vancouver Canadians; NWL)
9. PK Park (Eugene Emeralds; NWL)
10. Joseph L. Bruno Stadium (Tri-City ValleyCats; NYP)
11. Avista Stadium (Spokane Indians; NWL)
12. Richmond County Bank Ballpark (Staten Island Yankees; NYP)
13. Dodd Stadium (Connecticut Tigers; NYP)
14. Dutchess Stadium (Hudson Valley Renegades; NYP)
15. LeLacheur Park (Lowell Spinners; NYP)
16. Volcanoes Stadium (Salem-Keizer Volcanoes; NWL)
17. Eastwood Field (Mahoning Valley Scrappers; NYP)
18. Everett Memorial Stadium (Everett AquaSox; NWL)
19. Gesa Stadium (Tri-City Dust Devils; NWL)
20. Memorial Stadium (Boise Hawks; NWL)
21. Falcon Park (Auburn Doubledays; NYP)
22. Dwyer Stadium (Batavia Muckdogs; NYP)
Here are the final brackets:
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