Southside Landmark Memories

An Evening At Dunn Field - July 7, 1999

Note: This item appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette Opinion Page on July 18, 1999

have a lasting memory of Dunn Field that goes back to my childhood. As a youngster I got to watch Popeye get married at home plate. Popeye, of course, is the nickname that Don Zimmer has acquired over the years since he played for the Pioneers. Don went on to stardom, of sorts, as a shortstop and head coach in the major leagues. And the Pioneers continued with some good years and some mediocre ones, always a fond memory for me.

On a recent visit to Elmira, my wife and I attended a double header at Dunn Field. The Elmira Pioneers weren't at the top of their game. It was against Albany and Albany won both games.

But it was fun and it was a real minor league baseball game with all the trimmings. Stitches, the Pioneer mascot was circulating among the crowd. The Blues Brothers entertained between innings and the beer and hotdog vendors were everywhere.

The Pioneers management deserves a lot of credit for the great job they have done making Dunn Field a great place to play and watch minor league baseball. The baselines and pitcher's mound cut wonderfully sharp and distinct patterns in the beautiful green carpet of grass that hasn't a blemish in it. The seats are somewhat rigid, but comfortable. At least, we made it to the 7th inning stretch without any difficulty and our bones have a couch-potato history.

Dunn Field is a showpiece. But something was missing. The stadium was only half-full of fans. And there was plenty more room for parking outside in the lot. True, the Pioneers haven't had a grandiose season this year. I guess you could compare them to the Chicago Cubs in that regard. But is minor league baseball just about winning? Some would say so. Many baseball fans watching the highlights of the game on TV probably look at it that way.

But our evening at Dunn Field was more than that. It was a chance to see future great stars of the major leagues. It was full of surprises with the entertainment, the spirit of the crowd and the great stadium concessions. And when we return to Dunn Field the next time, that's what we'll be remembering in our anticipation of a great evening of minor league baseball.

Elmirans, you are a lucky bunch to have the Pioneers and Dunn Field.

Bill Cook
New Smyrna Beach, Florida

More photos taken at Dunn Field on July 7, 1999

Blues Brothers Entertain
The Crowd
Dunn Field Entrance
First Base Appeal

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