This is Heaven, a group headed by baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, has acquired a controlling interest in Go the Distance Baseball’s ownership of All-Star Ballpark Heaven and the iconic Field of Dreams Movie Site.
This is the site of the first Major League Baseball (MLB) game played in Iowa last month and a second game announced for next year. Terms of the sale have not been made public, but the transaction involves the purchase of all the interests in Go the Distance Baseball owned by the Denise M. Stillman Trust by This is Heaven, a venture between Thomas, a five-time All-Star and two-time American League MVP, and Rick Heidner, a Chicago area real estate developer and entrepreneur.
Heidner, an avid baseball fan, was an initial investor in Go the Distance Baseball and retains his original minority investment. Thomas will serve as CEO and Dan Evans will serve as chief operating officer. Evans, a former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has previously served as a consultant to Go the Distance Baseball.
“We are excited to lead the future development and expansion of the Field of Dreams in a collaborative spirit with our neighbours and government officials,” Thomas said.
Heidner added: “We are grateful to Tom (Mietzel), and to John and Claire Stillman for entrusting us with their mother’s legacy, and we pledge to preserve her dream and enhance the vision that Denise brought to this sacred site nearly a decade ago.”
Go the Distance Baseball is a real estate development company established a decade ago to preserve the Field of Dreams Movie Site farm as a baseball shrine for future generations. The movie site, featuring rental and tours of the farmhouse, a souvenir shop, ballpark concessions, and ‘having a catch’ on the field, attracts more than 125,000 visitors each year.
All-Star Ballpark Heaven, in collaboration with Baseball Factory, operates youth baseball tournaments at City of Dyersville complexes. The company is currently exploring plans to expand the Field of Dreams’ facilities to include baseball training and tournaments.
Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, and Amy Madigan, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1990. In 2011, Stillman and a group of investors purchased the field and adjacent Lansing Family farm in an effort to preserve the Field of Dreams and create a unique destination for baseball fans, tournament players, and families.
The site consists of more than 190 acres, the majority of which remains a working cornfield. Before she passed away in 2018 at the age of 46, Stillman was passionate about bringing an MLB game to the site.
The Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees met on August 12 in the MLB at Field of Dreams, and following the fixture a game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds was scheduled for August 11, 2022. MLB constructed an 8,000-seat ballpark on the Dyersville site. A pathway through a cornfield took fans to the ballpark, which overlooks the famous movie location.
Commenting on the takeover deal, Mietzel, the trustee of the trust bearing his late wife’s name, said: “The time is right to move forward, to put in place a team with the resources to make things happen and a team with the baseball and business experience to do it right. The family is confident that we found a buyer that will honour Denise’s legacy and vision for the Field of Dreams.”
Image: MLB Photos