The Ottumwa Courier

September 16, 2013

Team of Dreams plays at Iowa's Field of Dreams


Ottumwa Courier

---- — DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) — It was a team of dreams for Iowa's Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville.

The Team of Dreams Spectacular charity fundraiser on Saturday drew such baseball greats as Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1aC67PA) Sunday. And amateurs who paid to play got to field balls with their sports heroes.

The softball game was part of a casino festival and a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that helps wounded veterans transition into civilian life.

The event drew about 4,000 people to the field featured in the 1989 movie in which an Iowa farmer builds a baseball field and ghostly players from the 1919 World Series return to play.

For the former pro players, gathering together was a chance to reminisce about the glory days.

"It's just an enjoyable time spending with friends," said 21-year Major League right fielder Jackson, dubbed "Mr. October" for his postseason clutch hitting for the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees. "It's great to see all the guys are doing well, and it's great to be spending time like this at this stage in life."

For many of the amateurs, Saturday's game was a dream come true.

"It's just a childhood dream to play at the Field of Dreams with all these idols I grew up watching," said Tom Rauen, who sported a comically oversized baseball glove and a video camera on the bill of his cap.

Rauen got to play shortstop alongside Boggs, a Hall of Fame third baseman who spent most of his career with the Boston Red Sox.

There were plenty of comedic moments that kept the crowd laughing.

Bench caught one inning while sitting in a plastic chair and sang an impromptu duet with Randy Owen of the band Alabama. And former Major League player and manager Pete Rose sent one of baseball's greatest leadoff hitters and base runners, Rickey Henderson, to hit out of order multiple times after Henderson crushed a home run into the famous corn surrounding the field.

Boggs, part owner of All-Star Ballpark Heaven, which will be a large baseball/softball complex at the movie site, said he plans to make the Team of Dreams game a regular event.

"We are on the verge of something momentous, and we want to make this a yearly thing," Boggs said. "I'm going to keep asking my friends to come back with me."