On Thursday, Hall of Famer and White Sox legend Frank Thomas was at the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Dyersville to declare he and his business partners had purchased a controlling stake in the site.
“This is one hell of a destination,” Thomas, 53, said with a smile.
This is Heaven LLC, a company of Thomas and Chicago real estate developer Rick Heidner, purchased the interests in Go the Distance Baseball LLC, which had previously held ownership of the movie site and All-Star Ballpark Heaven, an organization that runs youth baseball tournaments and other events.
Thomas is expected to serve as CEO, while Dan Evans, the former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will serve as chief operating officer.
“We are excited to lead the future development and expansion of the Field of Dreams in a collaborative spirit with our neighbors and government officials,” Thomas stated in a statement.
Former Chicago White Sox great Frank Thomas is seen at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, July 14, 2018. (Getty Images)
The city of Dyersville hosted the “Field of Dreams” game, which also served as the first-ever regular-season MLB game played on Iowa soil.
“Field of Dreams,” the 1989 Kevin Costner flick, was filmed partly in Dyersville, causing the rural site to become a tourist attraction. In the iconic movie, Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a farmer who hears a voice telling him, “If you build it, they will come.” Kinsella then proceeds to build a baseball diamond on his land.
The well-kept movie set was steps away from the stadium built to hold 8,000 fans for the game in August and designed to resemble Chicago’s old Comiskey Park.
Go the Distance Baseball had been owned by the Denise M. Stillman Trust.
In 2011, Stillman headed a group that bought the field, which served as the movie’s location and the adjacent Lansing family farm, The Associated Press reported. The site of about 190 acres includes a working cornfield.
On Thursday, Thomas, standing in front of a sign reading “If you build it,” said he was looking forward to fulfilling “Denise’s vision of diamonds among cornfields.”
“On the heels of last month’s successful Field of Dreams game … the time is right,” he said. “We are confident people will come, people will most definitely come.”
During this year’s game, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson crushed a two-run homer off Yankees pitcher Zack Britton in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Chicago a thrilling 9-8 walk-off win.
Anderson circled the bases as fireworks exploded behind him, echoing a Hollywood script.
The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are scheduled to play in the game next August.
Thomas was a five-time All-Star and two-time AL MVP during his 19-year career, which included 16 seasons with the White Sox.
Nicknamed the Big Hurt, Thomas was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He finished his career with 521 home runs.