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A Brief History of Baseball in Beech Grove

Baseball has been an important part of Beech Grove for over 130 years. The first independently organized baseball team in Beech Grove was called the Hillside Team, and was made up of mostly members of the Churchman family. Games were played at the southeast corner of Churchman Pike and First Ave (Now Churchman Ave and Emerson Ave, where the Family Dollar/Dollar Store is) from around 1890 through 1912. They played games against teams from Acton, Southport and other towns around Indianapolis. In 1912, a new team made up of Beech Grove residents and men from the Big Four Railroad Shops requested to use the fields, the Beech Grove Nationals. The Nationals were active from 1912-1915. The Beech Grove Reds organized in 1919, using a stadium located on the southwest corner of First Ave and Main St, where the Beech Grove Police Station currently stands. The Beech Grove Reds played games all throughout the Midwest. Because Beech Grove was the location of the Big Four Shops and part of the New York Central Lines, the city and its stadium were a prominent host for games for the New York Central Athletic Association. The exact period of time the Beech Grove Reds were active is unknown.

Little League Baseball in Beech Grove

Beech Grove Little League first chartered with Little League Baseball in 1954, under the name Southside ‘Y’ Little League. BGLL played on several different fields in the first decade and has been playing primarily at Hartman Park since 1971. Originally called Hartman Fields, the land was owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis until 1989 when they decided to sell. Beech Grove Mayor Elton Geshwiler negotiated to purchase the land to be used as a city park to host the Beech Grove Little League. The last few decades have seen major improvements to Hartman Park, with paved parking and walkways and lights on the Majors field for night games. The league continues to grow and our Board of Directors is excited to launch a new effort to continue the love of baseball in Beech Grove.

For a more detailed history, including photos and newspaper articles, check out our 50th anniversary book, put together in 2004.

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