GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A historic ballpark on Grand Rapids’ West Side received a patriotic touch-up just in time for the Fourth of July.
A rededication ceremony for Sullivan Field’s American flag was held Wednesday evening.
The flag was a fixture in center field, but over the years as the field’s dimensions were shortened, brush and branches began to grow near the flagpole.
“It’s been overgrowing. They put up that short fence and that flag post is behind the fence,” said Andy DeVries, the president of Fans of Valley Field, a nonprofit organization seeking to restore the field’s condition. “The trees overgrown and obscured the flag and they kind of forgot about it. Now, we’ve trimmed it back.”
Pioneer Construction donated a lift truck, so the pole could be restored. Volunteers cleared up brush around the base of the flag, where a plaque of the original dedication of it in 1945 is located.
Members from American Legion posts 1111 and 459 donated the new flag and took part in the ceremony.
“That flag meant a lot to those that fought and died for this country,” DeVries said. “That flag was always there.”
The field, which used to be known as Valley Field, has a lot of history. It’s been around since the 1930s.
“The Kansas City Monarchs came here to play from time to time with Satchel Paige,” DeVries said. “Al Kaline pitched here. Kirk Gibson played here.”
DeVries and other fans of the field hope the new flag is just one of many updates at the stadium.
He says conversations are being held about converting the field’s playing surface to artificial turf.