Bob Boyle grew up a Springfield baseball player, and never forgot how much that meant to him.
After winning a $20,000 field makeover prize from the Diamonds & Dreams contest, Boyle could chose any baseball diamond throughout the world to renovate. He didn't have to go very far to know the correct one. Boyle picked Veterans Memorial Park in Springfield.
The Springfield Board of Commissioners thanked Boyle Tuesday for his efforts to renovate the township-owned baseball field. Sixth Ward Commissioner Bob Layden presented Boyle's parents, Bob and Marybeth, with a certificate of appreciation for his generosity "and outstanding community spirit."
Now in college at Penn State—and unable to attend the meeting—Boyle played baseball with Springfield AA, American Legion and at Cardinal O'Hara High School.
"He had the choice of any field to give this over to, and he unselfishly chose the baseball field at Memorial Park," Layden said. "We really appreciate that he picked our township. He could have went to the school or college, or anywhere he wanted. But he picked Memorial Field in Springfield."
Bob Boyle, his father, thanked the township for the honor.
"Bobby played several several years with the AA, and wanted to donate back to the AA... The coaches have been up there for years, and this was his way of paying them back for their dedication," he said.
Presented by Chevrolet, Scotts and Major League Baseball, the Diamonds & Dreams contest awards 25 communities around the country with funds to renovate youth recreation fields or equip them with supplies.
Springfield Park Superintendent Frank Pappa said the work began Wednesday and should be completed by next week.
Essentially, the renovation involves rebuilding the infield. Pappa said they skinned the sod off, installed new bases and pitcher's mound, and regraded and resodded the infield. Additionally, new player benches will be added and an irrigation line was extended to reach the field's backstop.
"It's really a heavily utilized field, so this will be a great benefit to all of us," Pappa said.
In addition to high school freshman baseball, Pappa said summer travel leagues for teens and intramural youth leagues play on the diamond.
"Bob played on it growing up. It's very sweet for him to give back to the town," Pappa said.