It was a see-saw battle in the Final Four, but we now have our finalists in the 2022 summer-collegiate Best of the Ballparks fan vote: Robin Roberts Stadium (Springfield Lucky Horseshoes) vs. Cardines Field (Newport Gulls).
Robin Roberts Stadium is representing the Prospect League, while Cardines Field is representing the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The share pair a totally different history: Robin Roberts Stadium is a former Triple-A and Low-A ballpark hosting Three-I, Midwest League and American Association teams, finding new life in summer-collegiate baseball. Cardines Field, old enough to be considered one of the oldest in the country, has hosted plenty of traveling teams over the years–Satchel Paige and other Negro League teams played there while barnstorming–and became host of the Gulls in 2001. Robin Roberts Stadium received the most votes in the Final Four round; ISG Field, home of the Mankato MoonDogs, finished second, prepping the way for the finals.
Our list is based on a number of criteria: our personal evals of the ballparks; histories; performance in prior fan votes; and geographical/league balance. Plus, we tried to introduce a few hidden gems to pique your imagination. We inevitably receive complaints that forgot to include Ballpark X; no, usually we didn’t overlook it but decided not to include it. On this list is a number of historic ballparks once hosting professional baseball at levels ranging from Triple-A (Edmonton, Springfield), Double-A (Norwich, Nashua) and spring training (Leesburg, Sanford) to rookie/short season (Vermont, Batavia) and independent (O’Fallon) facilities. Some of our omissions were determined by circumstances–no Spartanburg’s Duncan Park in 2022, for instance. We agree it’s a fine summer-collegiate ballpark, but the Spartanburg Spartanburgers suspended operations for 2022.
We know from marketing stats that a third of our readers work in the baseball industry, so we’re tapping into that collective expertise. And we know from our research that a third of our readers sell to the baseball industry, so that expertise will be valuable as well. The remaining third–fans, media, government–will certainly have a different view on things as well. We can’t wait to see what our readers–whom we consider to be the smartest folks in baseball–say about the best of the ballparks.
Some things to note. First, you are allowed to vote multiple times, but you can only vote once per day. Second, you don’t need to fill out a full slate: partially filled lineups will count. A running tally of the vote will be presented at the bottom of this page in the form of brackets. Vote below: