Photo provided
Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball season opens at 6 p.m. Friday when an opening ceremony will celebrate many updates to the sports complex in Forest Park.
Photo provided Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball season opens at 6 p.m. Friday when an opening ceremony will celebrate many updates to the sports complex in Forest Park.
Lots of good things are happening at the Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball complex at Forest Park.
With opening night for ages 13-15 on Friday night, there is much to celebrate.
Over the past year, Babe Ruth volunteers have worked hard to update the Babe Ruth facilities for local kids of all ages who play ball there.
Plus, dedication of the new Jane Beaver Memorial Diamonds will be a part of the opening-night ceremony, as will commemorating the 10-year reunion of the Babe Ruth World Series Team.
Thankfully, this cold wave will pass through, and the weather forecast calls for 57 F at 6 p.m. Friday for the Babe Ruth opening ceremony.
Since September, the unveiling of a landmark for the Jane Beaver Memorial Diamonds has been set for Babe Ruth Baseball’s opening night … which now is just a day away.
The Beaver family in Noblesville created a landmark at the Babe Ruth diamonds in memory of Chris Beaver’s mother, the late Jane (Hoppes) Beaver, who died on April 17, 2020, at age 77.
She was a huge fan of attending sporting events in which her grandchildren participated, the family said.
“My grandmother’s biggest passion in life was her family and her grandkids. She never missed a school fair, a game, a cheer competition ... She spent a lot of years at Babe Ruth watching nephews, cousins, great-great nephews, her kids, play ball. My dad felt like it was a big thing for the family to be a sponsor for Babe Ruth,” Chris Beaver’s daughter, Ali Beaver, 24, of Noblesville, said.
The Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds landmark features a 17-foot high by 19-foot wide metal arch at the entrance to the baseball park. A precision-tooled plaque will also be placed on the arch as a landmark to celebrate Jane Beaver’s life. There will also be a “legacy rock.”
The two-sided plaque describes Jane Beaver’s love for family and youth sports. Here is an excerpt: “There is a boulder within the gates of the Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds with the word ‘opportunity’ engraved into it. The word can be found in the Babe Ruth mission statement and is also the reason Jane and her husband, Allyn, loved youth sports. May everyone who visits the Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds experience a new opportunity to carry on Jane Beaver’s legacy and to create a legacy of their own, all while surrounded by family and friends. The Beaver family would like to thank the volunteers that have built the Babe Ruth fields for all their time and efforts to make the Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds a landmark to play ball.”
Those are just a few of the words on one side of the new plaque, which also shared on the other side that “both Jane and her husband, Allyn, enjoyed youth sports for the opportunity it gave all children in the community. It was an opportunity that she was able to witness be passed down through generations. Jane was always found volunteering by working concessions, keeping score, encouraging the youth and giving umpires a tough time. Her favorite umpire was Frank Wallace, although she gave Frank a tough time, she admired him for the time and dedication he gave to the youth teams on and off the field. Jane would like to be remembered for her belief in family and encouragement to always be surrounded by family. One piece of advice she wanted to leave as a part of her legacy was ‘be true to yourself, if you believe in something, go for it. No matter what the obstacles are, keep going.”
At the Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds, Emmerson Field and Logan Field will continue to celebrate their own legacies and will keep their field names.
Concrete was poured with masonry done. Beaver Materials also donated a new scoreboard, spending about $50,000, including the landmark, signage and legacy rock.
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.
Allyn Beaver and his late wife, Jane, loved Babe Ruth because all kids had a place to play ball …. “That’s what Babe Ruth is built on … to give all kids a place to play.”
Mike Concannon, manager of the 2011 World Series team, which will be celebrated on opening night, reminisced about the team that 10 years ago went to the World Series. “There were 18 players rostered on the team, and 15 of them made the trip to Ephrata, Wash., for the World Series,” he said this week. The team consisted of 16 2011 Noblesville High School grads (18-year-olds), one 2012 Noblesville grad (17-year-old) and one 2010 Guerin (High School) grad.
“We went 25-5 on the year and were one of six teams -- out of 10 total -- to advance to the single-elimination part of the Series.”
Writing about Babe Ruth makes me think about my first boss right out of college, the late Don Jellison, a 1955 Noblesville High School graduate who coached Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball for more than 30 years. Jellison and Don Dunkerly actually “got the ball rolling” with the start of Noblesville Babe Ruth in 1964.
Jellison served as state Babe Ruth director for 25 years, a period of time when Indiana grew from 60 leagues and began the largest state program in the nation with nearly 250 leagues.
My current boss, Tim Timmons, chief executive officer for Sagamore News Media, which owns The Times, wrote a great newspaper column two months ago about Babe Ruth, the history of the organization and how baseball is growing again.
Timmons interviewed Concannon, who said the league dropped down to just a few teams but said it started growing again. And current Noblesville Babe Ruth board president Chris Thomas told Timmons that the last year or so has really gone up. And it’s helped due to volunteers.
“In the last 18 months, we’ve replaced all the lightbulbs on the field, we replaced the sod, we got the batting cages working, we replaced the entire Logan outfield fence and we painted the grandstand for the first time in 15 year. We redid the bathrooms ….” Thomas was quoted sharing in Timmons’ column.
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.
He shared some of his thoughts on Wednesday about the league which, over the past five years, has struggled with finding volunteers for the board, fundraising and competing with travel baseball. Since becoming president, he is most proud of the addition of four teams and the ability to serve another 60 kids in the program. “That is another 60 families we get to provide a space for them to play baseball and enjoy the gem that is Forest Park in our city.”
Thomas is thankful for the Beaver family who stepped up when Noblesville Babe Ruth needed a major sponsor.
Chris Beaver “wanted to make sure our program was going to be for rec kids and everyone was going to have a chance to play regardless of playing ability or ability to pay. He wanted to make sure everyone was welcome.”
The league needed not only funding but guidance for its five-year vision. Shawn Beaver from the family joined the board and has been a contributor on updating the fields and helping with rebranding.
Thomas also likes that the Beaver family sponsor is “a true partner.” He said, “I can call Chris, Shawn, Ali or Jeff anytime and ask a question, look for guidance, ask for an introduction. They are here to serve the community and help make our place a true destination.”
Thomas said, “The last piece for me was a legacy. If we were going to do naming rights on our facility, I was looking at a company or sponsor who had a long-term vision and also had a connection to the ballpark. When an ex-board member Scott Noel made the connection with myself and Chris Beaver, we hit it off right away and as I got to know him and the family it was the right fit. Chris made me work for this sponsorship, but they have been the most amazing partners the last nine months.”
He also said, “We have the best volunteer board. What they have done over the past 18 months in raising money, fixing the fields, growing the league and getting through COVID is simply amazing.”
As for Thomas, he said, “I am here for the kids. My goal is to make sure everyone ages 13-18 has a place to play baseball regardless of if you are going to be the No. 1 draft pick in the MLB draft or you are going to be the world's best violinist. If you want to play baseball, we have a place for you.”
Thomas said, “I love seeing families coming out to Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds and enjoying a hot dog, kids running around playing catch and parents yelling when their child makes a great play.”
He said, “We still have some big projects we are working on and always looking for more board members and more sponsors to help us accomplish our goals.”
With all of the improvements from volunteers, sponsors and the Beaver family, this Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball season should be a great one.
And so I quote Timmons from his column, “Babe Ruth, which was once one of the biggest and best youth sports programs in Noblesville, is not only back, it is healthy and well positioned to enjoy that success for years to come.”
Opening night for ages 16-18 is May 10. The season-ending tourney is June 7-13.
Also, according to a Facebook post last Friday, Noblesville Babe Ruth is actively seeking paid part-time grounds crew personnel to help take care of the two fields for the upcoming season. Any interested candidates please email Scott at nbrbcommunications@gmail.com

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.