A seven year dream has become reality. The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields at Hatton Park, in the City of Fairfield, have been completed and league play is underway. The site is the region's first multi-field complex suitable for tournament play by the disabled.
The complex, located on Groh Lane across from the Fairfield Pee Wee football fields, has been specially designed and equipped so that children with special needs may have the chance to play baseball. The two rubberized fields have brick dugouts with electrical outlets for the use of kids who need oxygen, or a charge for their wheelchair. There is a "Red Monster" wall, on each field, in left field to give the kids the feeling of playing in an actual major league baseball stadium. The LED video board gives players the ability to watch themselves as they are out on the field playing the game. Stadium like seating and a fully functional concession area provides spectators an enjoyable stadium like experience while viewing games.
The City of Fairfield donated the six acre parcel for the fields. There was more than two million dollars spent in labor and materials. An estimated 3,000 man-hours went into the electrical work alone. All the work was donated, including several major local companies assisting.
In 1997, in Atlanta Georgia, Rockdale Youth Baseball Association's coach Eddie Bagwell invited the first child with a disability to play baseball on his team; Michael a 7 year old child in a wheel chair attended every game and practice, while cheering on his 5 year old brother play America's favorite pass-time. And in 1998, other children with disabilities were invited to play baseball on a typical baseball field within the baseball complex of the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association. The players had express the desire to dress in uniforms, make plays in the field, and round the bases just like their main stream peers. The league began with 35 players on four teams that first year.
The main concern was the playing surface, presenting potential safety hazards for players in wheelchairs or walkers. That is when the dream of building a unique baseball complex for these special children was conceived. The Miracle League was formed and became a reality that all children should have the chance to play baseball.
With help of community volunteers and corporations, the design and construction of the first Miracle League complex was underway. The complex would include a custom-designed field with a cushioned rubberized surface to help prevent injuries, wheelchair accessible dugouts, and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to wheelchair-bound or visually impaired players. The design also included three grass fields, which could be converted to the synthetic rubber surface as the league grew. In addition, accessible restrooms, a concession stand, and picnic pavilion were included in the
The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields Youth League is managed by the YMCA. Player Registration Forms and Volunteer Application forms can be obtained by clicking the following images.