In 2002, the Reading Fightin Phils, then the Reading Phillies, established Baseballtown Charities. Baseballtown Charities is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded to keep baseball alive in Reading so youngsters can benefit from the many life lessons the game teaches. Since that time, Baseballtown Chariities has been a part of many projects throughout the community and in 2017 has broken ground on perhaps it’s biggest accomplishment yet.
Shortly after Baseballtown Charities was established, its flagship project was started. Baseballtown Charities raised more than $1 million to build Gordon Hoodak Stadium at Lauer’s Park, a field of dreams in the heart of inner-city Reading, which has provided more than 1,000 boys and girls who otherwise might not have had the opportunity with a chance to participate in the game. It sits on the grounds of Lauer’s Park Elementary School, named for the former stadium where Babe Ruth and Shoeless Joe Jackson both played.
Another Baseballtown Charities project was completed in April of 2014, when Baseballtown Charities renovated Baer Park. A project that nearly lasted 1 year and cost over $90,000. On any given day, hundreds of youth can be found using the various attractions or having fun by spending time with friends. Throughout the spring and summer, the park’s baseball field is home to numerous city baseball and softball organizations. It is also the home field for junior high teams from the Reading School District.
In 2016, Baseballtown Charities began a new venture, the Basebaltown Charities Dream League. This venture expanded Baseballtown Charities role to give those with physical and developmental disabilities the same chance to experience the magic of baseball and thrill of playing on the diamond through custom-designed, turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and other assertive devices while helping to prevent injuries. In October 2016, at the Diamonds and Dreams Dinner Under the Stars event held on FirstEnergy Stadium’s field, the 300 community and business leaders in attendance were introduced to 11 of the leagues’ future players and treated to meals from four of the areas’ finest chef’s. Over $650,000 was raised at the dinner to support building Berks County’s first baseball field for special needs players.
On Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at 4:30 p.m., Baseballtown Charities and their distinguished guests broke ground on the Savage 61 Dream Field at the Relevant Sports Complex.
In the Spring of 2018, for the first time ever children with physical and developmental disabilities will have the opportunity to play on a field or their own, in a league of their own, just like every other kid.
Please watch this video to fully understand the impact of Baseballtown Charities newest project, the Baseballtown Dream League. Video Link. It really is something that must be seen.