Ray Winder's Last Game Relived as Ballpark's Demolition Continues

by Tre Baker  on Thursday, Jul. 5, 2012 12:41 pm  

What's left of Ray Winder Field, July 5, 2012. (Photo by Brent Birch)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Nearly six years after the Arkansas Travelers played their last game at their longtime home of Ray Winder Field and moved to Dickey-Stephens in North Little Rock, the walls (and seats and lights and everything else) of the old ballpark are finally being brought down.

Complete with an amazing slideshow of the ballpark's finale, Susan Elder, daughter of the late Travs announcer Jim Elder, takes readers back to that special day in this month's Little Rock Soiree:

The fans hung on every pitch and rose in unison for the final out. The fact that the Travs won the game was the cherry on top of a perfect Sunday. The eventual fan exodus from the stands moved in slow motion. General Manager Bill Valentine sat in his usual seat, receiving a mixture of condolences, thanks-for-the-memories, and congratulations on the new ballpark. Travs staff and press box guys posed for impromptu group photos on the mound. A couple of guys sat motionless in their seats, seemingly unwilling to acknowledge the fact that it was really over.

It's over.

Next week, the walls beside the Wilbur Mills Freeway (Interstate 630) are scheduled to be removed, perhaps removing any semblance that there was once a Texas League Cardinals affiliate in the neighborhood. A parking lot for nearby UAMS is planned for the property.

But maybe, maybe, if they put lights up on that parking lot, it'll be possible to drive down I-630 again and see the lanes lit up from the north, just like they used to be back when baseball was still being played there. For a brief 1-2-3 count, you can pretend the Travs are still there.

In some people's hearts, they always will.



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