Historic Calfee Park and the man who saved MiLB baseball in Pulaski

Sports

Calfee Park was the result of President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program.

60 years after it’s Opening Day, in 1999 Calfee Park was named a National and State Historic Landmark.

It has been home to the Pulaski Counts, Phillies, Cubs, Phillies, Braves, Rangers, Blue Jays, Mariners and Yankees.

“I guess we really don’t know which kid is really going to be the next Micky Mantel.”

Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park co-owner David Hagan

For Hagan, providing a place that gives kids a chance to chase their dream, has always been one of his goals in life.

“My partner is Lary Shelor in Christiansburg and Lary would be the first to tell you that 30 years ago he asked me what would you like to accomplish one day, I said one day you know I would like to own a minor league baseball park,” Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park co-owner David Hagan said. “It is just something I have always wanted to do.”

When Hagan was ready to tackle that life goal, the town of Pulaski was wrapping up their partnership with the Seattle Mariners.  

“The important thing is that we were gong to lose Baseball forever and when that happens it will be relocated somewhere else and then it will not come back,” Hagan said.

Without a team lined up to call Calfee Park home for the 2015 season, Hagan stepped up to the plate to save the game.

“It was a really good thing to do for the community and that is the reason we got involved and now the community has returned the favor and supported it,” Hagan said.

It has been a staple in the town of Pulaski for almost a Century.

“Mayor Calfee got money from the government after the great depression which was part of the revitalization of America, we are going to give you these funds to create jobs, so the money was given by the government to build this park in 1933,” Hagan said.

Courtesy David Hagan

“I think it is the fourth oldest minor league park still in existence today in America.”

David Hagan

“Obviously it has a lot of meaning to not just Pulaksi, but to Baseball,” Hagan said.

Before Hagan could bring a team to the town of Pulaski, he had to ask the Pulaski town council to sell him the land.

“We met with town council and they did have the vision to look forward and say this is the best thing for the town of Pulaski and they approved the purchase,” Hagan said.

“We made the commitments with the town and the Appalachian League to do the revitalization and then we called the Yankees,” Hagan said. “They made a visit and they were the first team to come and here we are today.”

As the saying goes, if you build it, they will come. The town of Pulaski has done just that.

“It does bring so many families together whether it is a mother and a son or a father and a son or daughter they are out here they are here to have fun and cheer the team on and hope,” Hagan said.

For Hagan, the ballpark is about more than baseball, it’s a connection to his father.  “This wasn’t the Appalachian League then, but my dad played in this league in 1956.”

It’s also a connection to the future of Major League Baseball.
“I’ve always enjoyed baseball and just the idea of watching these kids grow and meeting a new group of kids every year, 40 new kids every year and watching them go through their career,” Hagan said.

“It gives me something to do 40 nights of the year. I haven’t missed a game since the year before we purchased it. I came up here every game the year before we purchased it to make sure I really wanted to do it,” Hagan said. “That just kind of sealed the deal with me and I just wanted to move forward anyway we could. Fortunately, I haven’t had a cold or anything and I haven’t missed a game in six years.”

“I’ve made a statement to a few fans that say you don’t miss a game and I say if I am not here I am dead so call someone.” 

David Hagan

While the park means a great deal to Hagan, it is the heart of the town of Pulaski.

“I think we relate it straight to baseball, these people are genuinely appreciative that someone took the time, effort, energy and money to bring this ball park back to life and that they are here,” Hagan said. “We’ve got fans that have been here 50 years and I mean they just don’t miss, they are the core group and it would be devastating to them if this wasn’t here” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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