How professional baseball came back to York, Pa. after leaving the field in 1969
A rainbow spreads above York, Pa.’s, Sovereign Bank Stadium during the introduction of the 2010 York Revolution team in April 2010. Perhaps it’s a indication that pro baseball will never again leave York County. Also of interest: Grass vs. artificial: National turf wars escalated in York and York Revs could help teach about American Revs and York Revolution most recent addition to lengthy local professional baseball timeline.
My recent blog post Baseball is a game of myths, so here’s a poke at a growing York County legend raises questions about who, in fact, brought baseball back to York and how did it happen.
Well, here’s an explanation from the files of the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News:
Former Mayor Charlie Robertson — with help from the city’s economic development director Eric Menzer — worked for more than five years to bring a minor-league baseball team and stadium to York, but did not close a deal with a major-league affiliated team.
By late 2001, the nonprofit York City Recreation Corp. had replaced city hall as the leader of the baseball effort. Led by Steve Mitchell, it focused on generating local business support for an independent minor-league team in the Atlantic League. But some opposed the corporation’s involvement because it could not make debt payments on the York City Ice Arena, leaving the city to foot the bill. The corporation eventually stepped aside.
In 2002, then-Gov. Mark Schweiker said the state would put $12 million toward a proposed $24 million stadium at the city school district’s Small Athletic Field. But in June 2004, the school board voted not to have a stadium built there.
Mayor John Brenner then created a task force to study possible stadium sites. It named Small Field and Arch Street as the top two sites.
In June 2005, Brenner said a $27 million stadium could be built on Arch Street without county or city tax dollars. Of the $27 million, $12 million would come from the state and $8 million from Keystone Baseball. Members of Better York, a nonprofit group of community leaders, pledged to cover the other $7 million. The stadium would be owned by the York County Industrial Development Authority.
In April 2006, then-Rep. Steve Stetler and Brenner persuaded Gov. Ed Rendell to give $1.5 million more in state money to the project. That was the final financial hurdle for the stadium, which opened on Arch Street in June 2007, giving York a professional baseball team for the first time since 1969.