Hall of Famer Frank Thomas is the new owner of the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville, Iowa, where the Chicago White Sox defeated the New York Yankees in what turned out to be an iconic game last month.
The purchase includes all of the interest in Go the Distance LLC and controlling interest in All Star Ballpark Heaven and the Field of Dreams Movie Site. The purchase price was undisclosed. Dubuque County records show Go the Distance LLC paid $3.4 million for the property in 2013.
The former White Sox All-Star first baseman will serve as chief executive officer, and Dan Evans, a former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager, player agent and Toronto Blue Jays scout, is the chief operating officer.
“We are excited to lead the future development and expansion of Field of Dreams in a collaborative spirit with our neighbors and government officials,” said Thomas, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, his first time on the ballot.
The recent game, played in a makeshift 8,000-seat ballpark adjacent to the movie site, was so successful that Major League Baseball has scheduled another one for next Aug. 11, between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
“I think it’s going to be an incredible experience, especially for a lot of us who grew up watching the movie,” Reds manager David Bell said. “From everything I’ve been told and on TV, it looks like it’s just a really special and meaningful environment they’ve created out there. I feel very honored and lucky to be one of the teams [next] year.”
The White Sox defeated the Yankees, 9-8, this past Aug. 12, on Tim Anderson’s walk-off homer into the corn fields surrounding the ballpark. Some 5.9 million people watched the game on FOX.
Thomas and his partner, Chicago real estate developer Richard Heidner, bought the interest in the property from the trust of Denise M. Stillman. The movie, starring Kevin Costner, was filmed at those cornfields in 1989, and Stillman, it was noted in her obituary, envisioned the area, when she took ownership of the site in 2013, as a “a mecca for traveling baseball kids similar to Cooperstown, N.Y.,” home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Tragically, she died from breast cancer, at 46, in 2018.
Heidner, a long-time friend of Thomas, was an initial investor in the project and will retain his original minority partnership.
Tom Mietzel, trustee of the Denise M. Stillman trust and Stillman’s widower, said he’s confident the new owners will continue his late wife’s legacy.
“The time is right to move forward, to put a team in place,” he said. “A team with the resources to make things happen and a team with the baseball and business experience to do it right.”
(This article has been updated in the second paragraph to include information on the property’s sale price in 2013.)