The ghosts of would-be big ball players may still visit this place on sunny summer days, ready to suit up for the Peoria Reds, the Peoria Tractors, or the Peoria Chiefs. However, all they will find of their old baseball haunt is this crumbling concrete wall. It’s all that remains of the once beautiful and bustling Woodruff Athletic Field, constructed in 1923 and (mostly) demolished in 1978.
Over the course of three financially rocky decades, Woodruff Field was home to a series of bush league teams that, during the 1950s, drew as many as 124,000 fans during a season. The last minor league game held at the complex was in 1957.
While they still play ball here at the more humble Peoria Park District diamond, minor league baseball has moved to downtown Peoria’s Dozer Park. The Peoria Chiefs, a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, proudly carry on with the name that hearkens back to this relic of baseball’s past.