Loeb Stories - Fans

The Aviators worked with BoilerComm, Purdue's student run public relations firm, to gather stories from those that have been involved with Loeb Stadium over the years. Here is what they gathered from local fans. For more stories, see:

Randy Strong's Loeb Stadium Memories (July 25, 2019)

My brother Tim Strong was on the 1977 Lafayette Colt World Series team that won it all, that alone was an unbelievable memory at Loeb but my story goes a little farther than the win.  I was the batboy for the team and was in the dugout when they won it all. The coach, Terry Thompson gave me his hat after the win which was very special to me, during all of the on field celebration after the game catcher Curt Downing gave his hat to a girl and he took the one Coach Thompson gave me :(.

Chad Richeson's Loeb Stadium Memories (July 25, 2019)

Chad Richeson talks with Jeff Washburn of the Journal and Courier

I grew up watching and worshipping Harrison baseball and was able to watch the success of the program at Loeb every year throughout the 90s when Harrison dominated. I followed the team from Loeb to Victory Field in 92 when we lost. And again in 95 when Jeremy Small hit a late game duck-snort to knock of Richmond and ultimately win the title. Watching Todd Dunwoody, Eric Bruntlett, Josh Loggins, Eric Sabel, Brian Kennedy, and many more win sectional after sectional at the old stadium is where I fell in love not just with the stadium, but baseball in general. Throw in hanging with all of my friends, eating Arni’s pizza during the game, and dirt sundaes at the Frozen Custard after, still makes for quite the childhood nostalgia.

Flash forward... Playing for Hoosier North in the 2001 Colt World Series is still one of the best memories of my teenage years. We made it to the championship and ultimately lost, but what an amazing experience playing in the bright lights in front of a packed Loeb. I’ll tell stories about that week to my kids and my grandkids.

While we are all scattered across the country now with families and jobs (I live in Minneapolis), I’m still very close with several HN teammates, and we reminisce every August when CWS season rolls around. 

Garry Metcalf’s Loeb Stadium Memories (July 18, 2019)

Brian Lamb (left) and Garry Metcalf (right) stopped by to chat about Loeb Stadium!

In 1949, when I was 7 years old, my parents and I moved to a house close by 26th and Kossuth so we were just 3-4 short blocks from Loeb Stadium – and the Frozen Custard. (Arni’s wasn’t there yet.)

My first recollection of baseball there was the “original” Lafayette Red Sox, a semi-pro(?) team which included one or more players my father, T. W. Metcalf, knew – so Dad would take me to some of their games and probably to the Custard afterwards.

Through my adolescent years, we saw – in no particular order – a barnstorming, aging Satchel Paige; the “Clown Prince of Baseball” Max Patkin; Major Leaguer Curt Simmons pitching for Camp Atterbury while in the military during the Korean War; and Eddie “The King” Feigner, an unbelievable softball pitcher who used only a catcher and two men in the field (“The Court”); and probably others I’ve forgotten. Payback: I took Dad to his one and only World Series game in Kansas City in 1985.

When there were events that one had to pay to see, there were large drape-like sections of material on a cable at the top of the chain link fence; and those curtains would be pulled closed. Still, there were small gaps between sections so it was like being in a “knothole gang” watching what you could from outside the stadium – without paying. 

Somewhere during that time, baseball caught my interest (besides Jefferson High School basketball); and it has been my sport of choice for several decades now. However, back then, prior to high school; I’d walk, run, or bike over to watch Jeff baseball games, American Legion games, (Who remembers?) the Lafayette Columbians.

I was barely a teenager when the Cleveland Indians established a Class D minor league team, the Lafayette Chiefs, at Loeb Stadium in 1955. I got Bob Feller’s autograph at a preseason promo event!

In 1956 and 1957, the stadium was home to Boston’s Class D team, the Lafayette Red Sox. My friend Brian Lamb and I were clubhouse boys. Memorable “job” with our meager pay being tips from the players and manager, but we had some fun times at the old stadium where we spent a lot of time those 2 summers. Once or twice we even organized a sleepover in centerfield for our friends who were up for it - and had bug repellant. We never really got caught because by that time (mid-50’s) the plywood walls were in place so nobody going by on Main or Wallace Streets could see or hear us. (Statute of Limitations should surely keep us from going to jail today.) 

We, actually our mothers, were tasked with washing those nasty “sanitary stockings” worn by players in the day. And I still have and use (infrequently now) a shoe shine brush we used to shine the players’ cleats. And our “brush with fame” as it turned out was that we knew and were liked by Tracy Stallard who made it to the Big Show – and gave up Roger Maris’ 61st HR in 1961.

I left Loeb Stadium and Lafayette behind me in 1964; but if I were still there, I’d likely be watching the Lafayette Aviators if they were playing there.

All hail old Loeb Stadium!! What sweet memories.