Bowen Field at Charles A. Peters Baseball Park
|Bowen Field at Charles A. Peters Baseball Park|
|Location||Bluefield, VA, United States|
|Bluefield Orioles, 1958-2010|
Bluefield Blue Jays, 2011-2019
|2,250 (largest reported baseball crowd: 2,550+)
Bowen Field at Charles A. Peters Baseball Park was the home of affiliated baseball in Bluefield, VA from 1974 through 2019. After that, MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization ended the Bluefield Blue Jays era by turning the Appalachian League into a summer collegiate wood-bat circuit.
Despite its West Virginia address and the fact that the West Virginia city of Bluefield owns it, the ballpark lies in Virginia. The community of Bluefield is actually two municipalities on opposite sides of the state line. Baseball came to Bluefield in 1882, professional ball in 1924. Bowen Field, opened in 1939, was rebuilt in concrete after being destroyed by a 1973 fire. The new ballpark carried the same name until 2017, when the Peters name was added to thank the Bluefield businessman for his donation toward a renovation.
George Fanning became general manager in 1948, helped sign Boog Powell in 1959 and remained GM until his death in 1995 at age 86. After attendance dropped 18 percent from 2009 through 2013, the stadium allowed beer sales to resume - but the gate fell another 24 percent through 2018 before edging up in 2019.
The only city with a team in every Appy League season from 1946 to 2019, Bluefield had three different parent teams in the mid-1950s, but 1958 started a record 53-year run with the Baltimore Orioles. The beginning of the end came in 2002, when the O's added the newly minted Aberdeen IronBirds under the ownership of Cal Ripken Jr. Few MLB clubs had teams in both Rookie and Short-A - both now defunct - and with a closer team owned by their homegrown superstar the O's dropped Bluefield in 2010, allowing the Toronto Blue Jays to step in. The Omaha Storm Chasers surpassed the record run with the start of the 2022 campaign.
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