A week ago Friday, I went out to the opening night of Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball.
For the 35 years I’ve lived and worked in Noblesville and visited Forest Park and the adjacent aquatic center, I’d never step foot into the ballpark.
Being there almost felt like life was back to normal. There were lots of people, gathered in small groups, chatting, fist-bumping, shaking hands, giving hugs. Folks were ordering food at the concession stand. And players were practicing on the field. Fans were sitting together in the stands and on the picnic tables behind the fence.
I looked around and saw few, if any face masks, except for the required masks worn by Noblesville East Middle School Vocal Revolution Show Choir who sang the National Anthem under the direction of Jordan Rattenbury.
The ballpark was a busy place. Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen was there to honor Mike Concannon, manager of the 2011 World Series team, which was celebrating its 10-year reunion. Concannon reminisced for a time in front of the crowd.
Also, the Beaver family, led by Chris Beaver and his dad, Allyn Beaver, was there for a ribbon-cutting of the opening of the freshly updated field, the unveiling of the new Beaver Materials scoreboard and a second ribbon-cutting of the Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds Landmark donated by Beaver Materials. (Jane Beaver, who died a year ago, was Allyn Beaver’s wife and Chris Beaver’s mom) The company’s donations are among the improvements that had already started before the Beavers got involved, thanks to Noblesville Babe Ruth sports director Chris Thomas.
Thomas, who has been on and off the board for the past 15 years, rejoined the board about 18 months ago, as his oldest son, Chase, 13, joined the league, and Thomas came on as president.
While the diamonds have a new Beaver name, Logan Field and Emmerson Field will continue to celebrate their own legacies and will keep their field names.
Logan Field was named after Logan A. Costlow, the granddaughter of Noblesville’s Steve Costlow and daughter of Jodi Costlow. Logan passed in 2002, at age 5.
Emmerson Field was named after Noblesville’s Dean Emmerson, who sadly had a fall on the same night as the Babe Ruth opening and went to a hospital ICU. He passed four days later, on Tuesday, April 27, which was actually national Babe Ruth Baseball Day. Emmerson, who had battled Parkinson’s disease for more than 24 years, died at age 73.
Rob Emmerson, one of Dean Emmerson’s four children, posted the sad news on Facebook at 5:04 p.m. Tuesday with a message from his mom, Sharon Emmerson. “There is only one Dean Emmerson. He was a great husband, dad, grandpa and person,” she said.
Rob Emmerson’s post received 170 responses, mostly condolences, including one from Tommi Davis Woloshin: “I’ll never forget the patience and kindness your dad showed me as he taught me the fundamentals of pitching. He touched so many lives.”
At 8:27 a.m. Wednesday, Noblesville Babe Ruth tweeted the news about Emmerson’s passing on the Twitter social networking service. “We lost a great man and friend of Noblesville Babe Ruth. Dean Emmerson was a long-time member of the board of directors and volunteered countless hours to the organization. Dean, you will be missed. RIP.”
Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball posted on Facebook: “Tonight we honored one of our long time board members who was taken home yesterday. Dean Emmerson, you were an amazing man and champion of our program. You will be truly missed.”
Ryan Emmerson, one of Dean Emmerson’s four children, posted: “I spent an hour out at the fields tonight and I could have spent days there. There is just something about baseball at Forest Park that is magical. It was our sandlot. Growing up we’d go out there every night because someone we knew was playing. It didn’t matter who or when. I lived on freezer pops we’d get from foul balls. Such great years at that place.”
Dean Emmerson proudly took care of the fields for Noblesville Babe Ruth at Forest Park and Noblesville Girls Softball, for which he was also a board member, according to Emmerson’s obituary in The Times.
Due to Dean Emmerson’s tireless work, Emmerson Field was named after him in 2008, and the day of April 20, 2013, was declared Dean Emmerson Day in the City of Noblesville.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Randall and Roberts Funeral Center on Westfield Road in Noblesville, with son Robert Emmerson officiating, and visitation from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana Parkinson Foundation and Noblesville Babe Ruth.
The earlier tweet was followed up at 11:01 a.m. by another tweet: “For the rest of the week, we will pay tribute to Dean. Flag will be flown at half-staff, moment of silence before games, and lights on Emmerson will be left on all night. Thanks Dean for your hard work and devotion to NBRB.” Many Twitter followers reacted and retweeted the news, including photo of the brightly lit field after dark.
Noblesville Babe Ruth has been around since 1964.
Want more? A Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball Outing at Fox Prairie Golf Club on Aug. 27 will raise money for the ball park. The goal is to raise $5,000. Players and hole sponsors are being sought.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com. Read Dean Emmerson’s obituary in Friday’s edition of The Times