“If you build it he will come”. Remember the Kevin Costner movie Field
of Dreams? For a baseball fanatic having a field with such a historic
value would be unprecedented. Limeport Stadium is that dream come
true. Howard “Lefty” Fegely was not only the founder of the Stadium,
but a well-known baseball legend in the Lehigh Valley in the 1900’s.
The fascinating history and long lasting tradition has kept this stadium
Mr. Fegely had three interests in life- his family, his dairy business,
and baseball. Lefty, as he was known by, was a dairy farmer who
was greatly admired by the people of Limeport, not only for his
services, but also for his vast knowledge of baseball.
In 1932, Howard helped found the East Penn Baseball League.
This was a league made up of teams from all around the Tri-county,
Blue-mountain area. The league lasted until 1950, but Howard’s team,
the Limeport Milkmen, are still remembered today. In addition to the
East Penn League, he also founded the Limeport AA (athletic association). This was a social club consisting of community families.
Howard had two baseball playing sons, Homer Fegely, and Russell
Fegely. It was said that Howard built the stadium for his two sons.
They inspired Lefty to do what no one thought could be done at the
time. In the spring of 1932, Mr. Fegely made the decision to build the
stadium. Seventy-five to one hundred people earned jobs working as
contractors on the stadium. Because the Great Depression was at its
height, bricklayers and steel workers constructed the stadium paid
with the most minimal wages.
The Stadium was constructed at a cost of approximately $75,000.
Tons of steel beams and wooden planks were brought in by truck
to be used for the construction. The flooring was made out of iron
so that it was assured a long life. The flooring had not been
touched until a couple years ago when it was ripped out and
replaced. Three sections of stands were constructed in an arc
shape around home plate. It could seat crowds a little over
1000 people. The fold down seats were handmade in Reading,
Pennsylvania. The lower level has a tunnel that leads to the
bathrooms, locker room, utility room, and a social hall. A
concession stand was strategically placed at the top of the
stairs leading into the stands. Built-in dugouts were made of
brick and concrete, which have not been modified to this day.
The original locust post fence surrounding the stadium remained
in its original state until 1993. It was replaced with pressure
There are also some interesting stories about the stadium. Legend
has it that Howard’s favorite beagle is buried under third base.
Also a frequently asked question at Limeport is, “has anyone
ever hit a homerun over the centerfield fence”. The fence is
485 feet from home plate. Story has it that Alex Sabo is the
only person to hit a homerun over the fence.
Limeport Stadium is notorious for its sloped centerfield. This is the
result of a gigantic boulder that is under the ground in center field.
Back when the stadium was being built it would have been too
expensive to blast and level the field so it was kept as it was.
Lights were added in 1984 bringing night baseball to Limeport.
To raise money for the lights, an eight-by-four foot donor board
was ordered and names of donors were engraved on small brass
tags. The drive began and each meeting brought more names
and more money. The lights were bought, however there was a
lack of utility poles. P P & L donated poles and a truck owned by
Fleet Sales brought the eighty-foot poles down what is now known
as Interstate 78. The project was only half complete because four
more poles were still needed. For a $1,400 sum less anticipated, a
company in Alabama offered to sell and deliver the poles. It was
May of 1984 when the Electrical Contractors Association began
the task of insuring each light standard contained fifteen lamps
of 1,500 watts. The Western Salisbury Volunteer Fire Company
was contacted to see if they would be interested in using their
100' Mack aerial truck to position the lights. The Fire Company
accepted the challenge. It took three trips to get all the lights
positioned correctly. The first trip was especially challenging,
when the truck became stuck in the soft ground along right field,
twice. A gracious patron of the club pulled the truck out with a
bulldozer. Subsequent visits were done after the ground became
more solid in the fall. The procedure to aim the lights was very
interesting. Someone had to put small flags in the field where a
particular light was to be aimed. One tower was lit, and one
light was done at a time. A light was matched to a flag, a firefighter
on the ladder would loosen the bolts, and when the focus of the
light hit the flag, the bolts were tightened. The towers by the stands
became the greatest challenge due to their height. Upon completion
of aiming the lights, all the towers were lit. It was an awesome sight!
To celebrate the occasion, the firefighters, along with all those
members who helped, retreated to the club to enjoy the moment.
Actually, the moment was enjoyed after all the trips, but the last
night was very special. Al Crist had the honor of throwing the
switch to illuminate the field for the first night game on July 20, 1984.
One hundred and twenty 1,500 watt bulbs provided the lighting
for the game. Over one hundred games are played at the stadium
The bar which used to be in the tunnel of the stadium was a place
where players would relax and socialize. However after a while it
turned into a motorcycle bar. These new tenants caused a lot of
trouble which scared away some of the crowd. After gathering
all the necessary evidence of wrongful activities that violated
their lease agreement, the members of the stadium took legal
action. After many years in the court system the unwanted tenants
were finally evicted from the bar. Now more people come to watch
games with their kids because of the reassured feeling of safety
that was established from the eviction.
The stadium is owned and maintained by the members of Limeport
Stadium Incorporated (LSI). It is a non-profit organization made up
of over fifty volunteer men and women. The IRS threatened to put
the stadium up for public auction. LSI took over ownership of the
stadium in 1989. Since its Incorporation, LSI has made over
$100,000 of improvements and renovations. Money used for
renovations and maintenance is derived from fundraisers and
donations. An annual baseball banquet is held every year to
give out awards, raise money for the stadium, and listen to a
guest speaker. A big meal is prepared and a famous guest
speaker gets on stage and tells you about his career. Some
of the past speakers have been: Richie Ashburn, Tommy Lasorda,
Larry Bowa, Jim Honnicheck, Bobby Shantz, Mickey Vernon,
Curt Simmons, Bill White, Elmer Valo, Craig Anderson, Dallas Green
and Tug McGraw. The first guest speaker was Coopersburg’s very
own Jim Schaffer on February 1, 1986. Jim Schaffer played in the
major leagues for 14 years and coached in the minors and majors.
His professional baseball career spanned over 35 years. There
were 250 people in attendance that night. Other famous people
have visited, or played at the Stadium including Connie Mack,
Max Patkin (the Clown Prince of Baseball), the Philly Fanatic,
Dick Spaulding and Johnnie Welaj.
Another fundraiser is the annual hoagie sales. The members form
an assembly line and hand-make hundreds of hoagie orders. This
fundraiser is always a big success. This money usually is used for
renovations. A scoreboard was put in for $2,000 in memory of
Howard Fegely. It still stands in its original spot today. Also a
granite memorial was recently put in front of the stadium to
honor all the LSI members who have contributed so greatly to
the stadium, and unfortunately passed away. The old Fegeley
garage in the middle of the parking lot was restored and transferred
into a meeting room. All of the LSI meetings are held here and all
the historic scorebooks and documents kept by Mr. Fegeley himself
are on display. All the pictures and historic pieces on display
resemble that of a hall of fame of Limeport Stadium.
Throughout the years many teams have played at Limeport. For a
while it has been the home field for the Limeport Bulls, Dodgers,
Southern Lehigh High School, Connie Mack, American Legion, and
Allentown College. Limeport Stadium has a great historic value in
our community that many people did not know about. The contributions
of the volunteer members of this stadium are why the stadium
still stands today. From the Great Depression to today, the
stadium represents the national pastime of the American people
and how the love of the game was so important to Mr. Fegely.
The stadium, which has stood the test of time, is still in good
condition and is evidence of quality worksmanship. Like a true
field of dreams, Mr. Fegely built his “love of baseball” for the
crowds to come and take-part in America’s pastime.
Written by: Matt Fulton