BASEBALL: Yale Field renamed Bush Field, according to recruiting guide, new sign
As a student at Yale, George H.W. Bush ’48 played first base and was captain of the Bulldogs’ baseball team during his senior year.
Regina Sung, Contributing Photographer
Yale Field, the home of Yale baseball since the early 20th century, has been renamed Bush Field, according to a sign outside the stadium.
A blue sign outside the field at 250 Derby Ave. for Yale Athletic Fields South has been changed to read “Bush Field” from “Yale Field.” According to an online Yale baseball recruiting guide published last year, the new name honors the late President George H.W. Bush ’48.
Yale Athletics declined to comment on the status of the field’s name, while David M. Anaya, director of marketing and communications for the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, forwarded a request for comment to the Bush family, who did not respond.
“Yale Baseball is proud to call George H.W. Bush Field home,” the online recruiting guide reads. “Originally built in 1928, Bush Field is the largest college stadium in the Northeast with a capacity of 6000 and is currently the only Ivy League facility to have lights. With a $2.2 Million upgrade to FieldTurf ahead of the 2018 season, Bush Field will undergo a $3+Million renovation in Summer 2020 to become one of the premier facilities in college baseball.”
Yale Athletics declined to comment on the details of the renovations mentioned in the recruiting guide. Director of Athletics Vicky Chun tweeted a before-and-after photo of the stadium’s repainted exterior last December. Whether a direct link exists between the renaming of the field, the renovations and their cost remains unclear.
Turf was installed at Yale Field in 2018. At the time, Yale baseball head coach John Stuper was excited about the change because the turf field would allow for more games and practices by raising the threshold for a rainout.
“I’m as ‘old school’ as anyone in regards to grass,” Stuper told FieldTurf, the company that created the “FieldTurf DoublePlay” surface at Yale, at the time of the upgrade. “But this simply improves the experience of our players and affects their development in a very positive way.”
As a student at Yale, Bush was captain of the Bulldogs’ baseball team during his senior year and played first base. He helped Yale to two College World Series appearances, including the very first edition of the event in 1947 against the University of California.
Bush was not the first person in his family to play first for the Bulldogs. In George W. Bush’s ’68 book “41: A Portrait of My Father,” the younger President Bush writes that his grandfather, H.W.’s father, also played first base and batted cleanup for Yale’s 1917 team. George H.W. Bush’s wife, Barbara, was also involved in the Yale baseball community during their time in the Elm City. She served as a scorekeeper for the team.
Yale’s baseball field has seen its fair share of history. According to a Yale Athletics webpage, MLB teams played at Yale Field before and during World War II.
Yale Field also hosted several notable major league players. Hall-of-famer Ted Williams played a game at the field in 1939. Lou Gehrig also played at the field. But perhaps the most notable player to ever visit the venue was the Great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth. In 1948, when Bush was captain of the team, Ruth came to present a signed copy of his autobiography to future President Bush himself, who accepted the book on behalf of the University library. The occasion marked one of Ruth’s last public appearances before his death four months later.
Bush remained a supporter of the Yale baseball team into his retirement. As recently as 2017, Bush hosted the team at his estate in Kennebunkport, Maine to celebrate Yale’s record-breaking 2017 season, which included a school-record 34 wins, an Ivy League Championship and two victories in the NCAA Tournament.
To honor Bush after his death in November of 2018, Yale Field was sprayed with an emblem of a blue home plate with Bush’s name, signature and the number 41 in spring 2019. Players also received caps with the same emblem above the ear, and Yale released a commemorative “41” hat with an American flag on the side that some alumni sported during May 2019.
Bush threw left-handed and batted right.
Eugenio Garza García | firstname.lastname@example.org