Places like Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, Fenway or Candlestick Park are iconic names in baseball lore.
They are baseball parks that became institutions, edifices that take on a life and death of their own, becoming sacred or “hallowed” ground for fans and players.
Trail’s Butler Park holds some of that same mystique, inspiring a recent effort to enter the municipal park into the Best Ballpark in Canada competition announced last month by Baseball Canada.
“I thought it would be great to have Butler recognized,” said Trail Jays advisor Ed Ferraro.
“It means a lot to me, because I kind of grew up down here.”
Those who have played in Butler, have played in many parks across Canada, yet very few come close to the cozy confines of their home turf.
“Just the layout of the park, it’s a great place to watch and it’s a great place to play.”
The park has seen many sensational hitters, fielders and pitchers cross its plate; nine national team selections and of course the New York Mets’ Jason Bay.
It has hosted the Babe Ruth Provinicials, Pacific Northwest Championships and the 1995 Senior Babe Ruth World Series.
The famous softball pitcher Ed Fegnier brought his “King and his Court” team to the park a few decades ago.
Former Major League pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee also made a landing at Butler Park with a touring team in the 90s.
This summer, Butler Park is home to the Trail Jays AAA American Legion District Playoffs, their annual summer tournament and the Western Canadian Sr. Men’s Championships hosted by the Trail Orioles.
The competition required a short essay describing the park and why it should be named Canada’s number one venue.
To complete the entry requirements, FortisBC donated a manlift so photographer Larry Doell could get a birds-eye view for a great panorama shot included with the entry, said Ferraro.
Entrants will be pared down to 16 finalists and placed into four groups of four, which will then be open to the public to vote online for their favourite park.
“There’s so much history here, I mean some of my best memories are being down here at Butler Park, practicing all day then going to swim in the river and watching games and watching guys that were older than us, many who made the national team,” said Ferraro.
“I could just sit down here all by myself, nice and quiet and just enjoy this place.”
The finalists will be announced July 8 with voting opening July 11.