“Big Hurt” is taking a big swing in rural Iowa.
A venture led by Hall of Famer Frank Thomas acquired the “Field of Dreams” site made famous in the 1989 Kevin Costner movie, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The venture purchased the movie set in Dyersville — including the ballfield — a neighboring baseball field where the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees played a game in August, and the surrounding property planned for a youth baseball complex, according to the report.
The deal was announced on Thursday and closed for an undisclosed sum.
The venture is set to pursue a long-planned development scheme for the roughly 193-acre property hatched by Denise Stillman, who purchased the property with a group of investors in 2011.
Prior to that, the property was a modest tourist attraction. Stillman’s group planned a $75 million project to build 21 youth fields, dormitories for players and an indoor training center.
They received some pushback from locals and ultimately won a court battle for the right to develop the property, but couldn’t raise the funds.
“We have people here that really want to make this place bigger and better than what it is so far, and it’s tremendous already,” Thomas said at a news conference. Nicknamed “Big Hurt,” Thomas played most of his 19-year career with the White Sox, retiring with 521 home runs and a .301 batting average.
He is now CEO of the venture, which calls itself This Is Heaven. Former White Sox executive and Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Dan Evans is chief operating officer.
Gold Rush Gaming owner Rick Heidner is among the investors. A spokesperson for This Is Heaven said that Heidner will bring his real estate development expertise to the team and that the complex would not include gambling, the Tribune reported.
The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are scheduled to play at the field next year.
[Tribune] — Dennis Lynch