Discovering an OC Diamond

Posted August 12, 2014 by Chris Epting
Amerige Park

It’s one of the most historic baseball fields in Southern California. Amerige Park, at the southwest corner of Commonwealth and Highland avenues in Fullerton, stands on the site of the old Fullerton High School.

Built in the 1930s, it served as the spring training grounds for the Pacific Coast League for teams including: the Hollywood Stars (1935-36), who later became the San Diego Padres; Portland Beavers (1937-40), Sacramento Solons (1941-42; 1944), and the Los Angeles Angels (1946-55; no relation to the current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).

Amerige Park, circa 1930

Stars as varied as Joe DiMaggio (along with his brothers Dom and Vince, while all played for the San Francisco Seals), Satchel Paige, Rogers Hornsby, Ted Williams, Gary Carter Arky Vaughan, and Bob Lemon all played on this field.

Amerige Park under construction, 1933

If You Build It…

Built in 1934 as part of a Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) project, part of the project included flagstone and mortar pillars, called “pilasters,” that surrounded the entire park. Today the pilasters still remain, though most of the other W.P.A. structures have been removed over the years. The grandstand was completely replaced in the 1980s after a fire destroyed what was left of the historic grandstand.

A Star is Born

In 1935, Amerige Park was the site of a major motion picture, "Alibi Ike," starring comedian Joe E. Brown as a baseball player. Below is a production photo, taken during the filming. As the film’s press kit described, “Baseball rookie Frank X. Farrell is a phenom, a kid who can hurl the ol' horsehide and swing the lumber so well he may lead Chicago's beloved Cubbies to a pennant.” Pro players Bob Meusel, Jim Thorpe (among others) also appear in the film, as does "a charming newcomer" (to quote Frank S. Nugent in The New York Times) by the name of Olivia de Havilland.

Amerige Park

Amerige Park was rededicated on July 18, 1989. The grandstands, ticket booths and fences are all new. The field itself is now named for former Fullerton mayor and city councilman, Duane Winters. Most recently, Amerige Park has been home to the Fullerton Little League Junior Division & Pony Colt League.

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