SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — This isn’t the first time a baseball team from here has been affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Currently the Double-A affiliate of the Redbirds, Springfield’s entry in the Western Association was hooked up with St. Louis from 1934 to 1953, when the team was moved to St. Joseph, Missouri.
Springfield qualified for the Western Association playoffs eight times, winning titles on five occasions.
The city was affiliated with the Chicago Cubs in 1953, but that lasted only one year.
Old Memorial Park was razed in the late 1950s to make room for a housing development.
Hotel mogul John Q. Hammons paid to have the current facility built even before he had a team to play in the stadium.
The current Cardinals began play in Springfield in 2005, after St. Louis ended a two-year affiliation with the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League.
Through the 2015 season, 85 former Springfield Cards have gone on to play in St. Louis and 106 who have debuted in MLB overall.
Among the current Cardinals who cut their teeth in Springfield are Kevin Siegrist, Aledmys Diaz, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Kolton Wong, Lance Lynn, Sam Tuivailala, Matt Carpenter and Greg Garcia.
First baseman Matt Adams started the season in St. Louis but was traded to Atlanta after 31 games.
Oscar Taveras, who was the 2012 Texas League Player of the Year, played 80 games with the Cards in 2014, was killed shortly after St. Louis was eliminated from the National League playoffs in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.
Stan Musial, Dizzy and Daffy Dean, Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick all played at Springfield at some point in their stellar careers.
The modern-era Cardinals pay tribute to the parent team’s 11 World Series victories with pennants atop a manual scoreboard over the left field wall.
Hammons Field has two scoreboards, a manual one that displays MLB scores and a large JumboTron in left center.
The Cardinals share Hammons Field with Missouri Valley Conference member Missouri State.
The MVC has held its post-season baseball tournament at Hammons Field in 2017, 2012, 2007 and 2004.
Hammons Field has the same bluegrass turf as that at Busch Stadium.
Parking is no problem. There is a big lot across the street on the first base side of Hammons Field that only charges $7.
Bass Pro Shops, which has grown from its one store in Springfield to 94 across the United States and Canada, has a presence at the ballpark, with signs in left and right field touting Tracker Marine — which has one of its plants in Miami.
Some of the promotions during the final month of the season are a Route 66 super soft shirt on Aug. 3, Willie McGee bobble head on Aug. 5, a Charlie Brown 50th anniversary bobble head on Aug. 19, a replica of the St. Louis Cardinals 1987 National League championship ring on Aug. 17 and a Budweiser Cardinals 1967 World Series championship beer stein.
There’s lots of interesting food available at the concession stands and food carts located throughout the stadium
“The Doghouse” features a Big League Brat for $12.50, a Gourmet Jumbo Dog, $10.50; Gourmet Dog, $9.50; and Grilled Cheese Dog, Hot Tied Dog, Missouri Dog and Chetzel Dog, all for $6.25; Philly Cheese Steak, $11.25, and Gourmet Burger, $12.50.
There are also more hamburger and barbecue offerings around the park.
Also on the menu are waffle cones ($6.75) and ice cream in a souvenir helmet ($6.50). Peanuts are $4.25 a bag.
Draft beer is $7.75, soda is $6 and water is $4.50. Mixed drinks are also available.
Jim Ellis is sports editor of the Miami News-Record. He can be reached by phone at 918-542-5508 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mnrsports