In 1955, Kalamazoo businessman and sports fan Thomas Woodworth purchased uniforms for the Kalamazoo College baseball team. That spring, the Hornets responded by finishing second in the MIAA conference. Woodworth then gave funds for a new baseball field at K, located near the College’s Angell Field football field. The City of Kalamazoo helped build the diamond, which was ready for the 1956 season.
Sixty years later, Woodworth’s four children returned to see their father’s newly polished ball diamond in a brand new, if familiar, setting.
In 2012, K completely renovated its aging outdoor athletics facility, replacing the old cement-block Calder Field House and rusty Angell Field press box with terrific new structures. Mackenzie Field (soccer), Woodworth Field, and the Hornet softball field were completely rebuilt on new locations within the site in order to maximize overall space and make way for a new parking lot and intramural field. Only Angell Field retained its original footprint (though it gained an artificial turf surface, new bleachers and the new Stadium Services Building compete with press box, concessions and restrooms).
Recently, Thomas Woodworth, Jr., and his three sisters – Nancy Tyler, Marilyn Moise, and MaryLou Milner (l-r in the photo) – returned to K and to the ball field that bears their family name for the first time in decades. They now all live out of state.
“They were absolutely delighted to see the new Woodworth Field and to reconnect with part of their family legacy,” said Al DeSimone, K’s vice president for advancement. “I had no trouble imagining them as kids running the base-paths and sliding into home plate.”
During their visit, the Woodworth “kids” helped to dedicate a new plaque at the diamond. It reads:
“Thomas B. Woodworth Sr. and his family have demonstrated remarkable support for baseball at Kalamazoo College and in the greater Kalamazoo area. In 2012 and 2013, the family reaffirmed its commitment to the athletes who play this sport. This field, originally dedicated in 1956, bears the Woodworth name and continues to symbolize the family’s generosity and the College’s gratitude.”