Wade Boggs invests in youth baseball

Eighth graders from East Dubuque, Ill., playing baseball

Eighth graders from East Dubuque, Ill., playing baseball on the "Field of Dreams" movie site in Dyersville, Iowa. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs wants to help turn the "Field of Dreams" in eastern Iowa into a mecca for youth baseball. Boggs announced Thursday Sept. 27, 2012 that he is investing in a new project at the site of the "Field of Dreams" movie baseball field in Dyersville, Iowa. (Credit: AP, 1999)

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs wants to help turn the "Field of Dreams" in eastern Iowa into a mecca for youth baseball.

Boggs announced Thursday that he is investing in a new project at the site of the "Field of Dreams" movie baseball field in Dyersville, Iowa.

Boggs, a former third baseman for the Red Sox and the Yankees and a Hall of Fame inductee in 2005, is lending money and his name to the project. The movie site is part of a larger $38-million complex of 24 baseball and softball diamonds on 193 acres to be called The All-Star Ballpark Heaven.

Boggs, who wouldn't divulge how much he's investing, said he envisions the site as a destination for travel ball and summer all-star teams throughout the Midwest.

"It gives a viable option to parents . . . so they don't have to jump on a plane or what have you to go to the East Coast just to have their sons compete," Boggs said. "With this facility, with as many fields as we're going to provide, it gives kids in the Midwest and far West an opportunity to have the same type of competition but not travel as far."

It's under development by Denise and Mike Stillman, a suburban Chicago couple who formed a company, Go the Distance Baseball, to buy the movie site and surrounding land.

Boggs compared his vision for the site as similar to that of the Cooperstown area. The upstate New York town that is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame also has a variety of diamonds for youth teams that travel from around the country to learn about the game's history and play some ball.

Boggs said plans are to have at least part of the new facility be indoors in an effort to close the gap between youngsters in cold- weather states and their counterparts in California, Texas and Florida.

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