FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – With graffiti, large weeds, and decay, LaGrave Field in Fort Worth looks like a baseball graveyard.
Scott Berry, President, of the Save LaGrave Foundation said, “It’s a disaster out here in the sense of the shape it’s in currently.”
But this iconic ballpark, has a rich history dating back to 1926 that played host to some of the greats.
“Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and just legends of the game played here. Jackie Robinson. And we want to restore some of that,” said Berry.
Now, Berry thinks two land deals have helped his group score a major league comeback, not just of LaGrave Field, but the Fort Worth Cats minor league team too, which last played in 2014.
To make it work, the stadium’s owner, Panther Acquisition Ltd. has agreed to transfer the eight acre stadium property to the Tarrant Regional Water District.
In exchange, the water district will sell 15 acres it owns under the Trinity River levees to Panther Acquisition Ltd for $1.3 million.
As part of the agreement, Panther would be able to develop the property as part of the upcoming Panther Island development.
The Save LaGrave Foundation will have to pay the water district $4 million now, and an additional $3 million in the next 18 months.
Berry said, “I’m very optimistic we’re going to get this all done. We’ve overcome the biggest hurdle.”
The foundation has also agreed to spend at least $2 million to bring the stadium back to life, and attract a minor league team such as the Cats to play at least 45 regular season games. “A Texas independent league where there’d be mostly Texas cities with good rivalries and that could be part of a bigger league but we really firmly believe we need six or eight Texas teams playing one another”, Berry said.
By October, he said he should know whether there will be baseball at LaGrave Field next year or in 2020. “We need the support of the Fort Worth Cats fans, the support of the Fort Worth Cats sponsors. We need people in the community to support our foundation.”