Baylor Ballpark Dedicated Feb. 10Feb. 14, 2001
"It gives me a great deal of pleasure on behalf of the entire Baylor family to dedicate this fabulous facility, home of the 2000 Big 12 champions è Baylor Ballpark, home of the Baylor Bears."
And with those words of Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr., Baylor Ballpark Founders and other dignitaries officially dedicated the university's baseball stadium, during ceremonies on a sunny, but blustery cold Saturday afternoon, Feb. 10.
The dedication, attended by hundreds of spectators bundled up in blankets and cold weather gear, took place before the second of a three¡game series featuring two nationally ranked teams ¡ Baylor at #21 and Cal State¡Fullerton, ranked #18 at game time.
"This is a very significant day in the life of Baylor University baseball," said head baseball coach Steve Smith, as he recognized the "team effort" and significant contributions made by the founders and other special guests, who were seated on the infield.
The founders were Carolyn and David Brooks, Ann and Harold Cunningham, Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Dot and Matt Miller, Julie and Jim Turner, Karen and Richard Willis, Sharon and Carroll Dawson, Peggy and Rick Hawkins, Sloan and his wife, Sue, and Athletic Director Tom Stanton and his wife, Kathleen.
Other dignitaries included former Baylor athletic administrators Bill Menefee and Grant Teaff; Teaff's wife, Donell, a Baylor regent; former head baseball coaches Dutch Schroeder and Mickey Sullivan and their wives; Edna Sorrell White and Mary McCall, the wives of deceased former coaches; Smith's wife, Melinda; Baylor President Emeritus Herbert H. Reynolds and his wife, Joy; athletics chaplain Milton Cunningham and his wife, Barbara; ballpark architect David Lemon; Waco Construction's Joe Brownfield and his wife, Billye; and Ted and Sue Getterman, Baylor benefactors whose name adorns the softball stadium next door.
"Everyone here played a great part and played their role very well, and it's certainly a wonderful day to see it all come to fruition," Smith said. "I'd like to thank the more than 1,000 individuals and families, many of whom are faculty and employees, whose names are affixed to the seats in our stadium. It is wonderful to have that kind of support and teamwork go so far into our community.
"I'd also like to thank Dutch Schroeder and Mickey Sullivan, whose combined efforts over the past 40 years have really paved the way for this facility to be built. To me, this ballpark represents relationships, and I can think of no two people who have done more to cultivate relationships on behalf of Baylor University than Dutch and Mickey. For that, we are all truly indebted."
Sloan, who played baseball his freshman year at Baylor, paid homage to those who shared the vision of constructing the new ballpark and also believed that playing fields can serve as "schools of accomplishment."
"We believe that playing fields are places where individuals can learn to compete with pride and develop a sense of obligation [and] a sense of responsibility, to learn what it means to persevere in the face of hardship, to learn what it means to win with humility, to learn what it means to have the discipline and the courage to sacrifice the short¡term pleasure for the long¡term good," Sloan said.
"Today we honor those who have shared this vision, a desire to advance the goals of sportsmanship, character¡building, teamwork, adversity in the face of trial and a desire to provide educational opportunities for academically and athletically talented young men who play the game of baseball and play it with exceptional skill."
Sloan, surrounded by founders, special guests and cheering team members and spectators, then officially dedicated Baylor Ballpark when he cut the red, white and blue ribbon with a three¡foot¡long pair of gold scissors. Following the ribbon¡cutting, red, white and blue balloons sailed in the blue skies above.
During the dedication ceremony, founders were each presented with a commemorative baseball and a framed photo of the ballpark. Fans attending the ceremony also received a baseball and poster, marking the occasion.
The first pitch in Baylor Ballpark's "official" history was delivered by Baylor starting pitcher Steven White, a sophomore from League City, who held the visiting Titans to two hits over seven innings as the Bears shut out Cal State¡Fullerton 5¡0.