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Baseball fields to be named for civic all-stars

Posted by: Updated: April 4, 2014 - 7:48 PM

Three baseball fields in Minneapolis will be named for Twin Cities sporting figures.

Two  fields, funded by Major League Baseball and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, will be named for Hall of Famer and former Twin Rod Carew, and for Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman.

Another will honor Eddie Phillips, businessman and grandson of the founder of the Jay and Rose Phillips Foundation, one of Minnesota's largest philanthropies, and a generous supporter of baseball in the city. The foundation contributed $1.3 million for renovations at Farview Park in north Minneapolis, where Eddie Phillips Field will be located. The Pohlad  Family Foundation and  the Twins Community Fund contributed $800,000 to the effort.

Eddie Phillips, who had been a catcher on the Stanford University baseball team, was known in business for developing luxury consumer brands from vodka to gelato. He also engineered a $10 million donation to the Mayo Clinic for research into Alzheimer's disease, which had claimed the life of his mother, advice columnist Abigail Van Buren, also known as "Dear Abby." He died in 2011.

The park board suspended its rules Wednesday to accomplish the renamings, in part because Carew and Hartman are still living, said board President Liz Wielinski.

Rod Carew All Star Field will be located on Xcel Energy property the park board leases at 2900 NE. Marshall St. 

Sid Hartman All-Star Field will be at Northeast Park, in a part of town where Hartman, now 94 and still cranking out sports columns and appearing on radio, said he had many friends as a youngster.

The news of the field naming  came as a surprise to Hartman.

"Tell them I said 'Thank you,' " he said.

One footnote: Wielinski added that ball fields are often renovated, or moved or otherwise changed, so the process of naming them doesn't need to be as rigorous as it is for names of parks and buildings. Sid Hartman All-Star Field, for example, was originally christened 33 Field, citing the number of former Twin, All-Star and American League Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau. Morneau was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates last year and now plays for the Colorado Rockies.

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