Review by Mike
Built in 1930, Doenges Stadium in Bartlesville, Oklahoma has seen more than 90 years of baseball played out upon its field and, thanks to community and city efforts, looks as good today as it ever has. A major renovation from 1998 – 2003 restored the stadium without the sacrifice of any of its character, while a committee for the maintenance of the ballpark keeps it looking fresh and vibrant.
Home to several minor league teams in the 1930s and 1940s, including the Bartlesville Pirates of the Class D K-O-M League, the stadium now serves high school and American Legion ball, having hosted the American Legion World Series twice in the early 2000s.
The main grandstand is a little odd in the it doesn’t quite bend as much as most stadiums built for baseball. The result is that the seats behind home plate are quite close the action while the field grows more distant the farther away from the center you go. The two erector set stands down each baseline actually “cut in” from the line of the main stand in order to be closer to the field.
The main stand is a lovely structure, featuring arches on the outside, a grand main entrance with wrought-iron gates, a full and impressive roof that covers all of the seating and massive ceiling fans that look like they could have gotten the Spruce Goose off the ground. The seating is comfortable, mostly metal bench seating and some seats with fixed backs. The exterior is freshly painted in bright colors and a pleasant walkway with benches leads to the entrance.
The field is grass in the outfield and field turf on the infield, although the line between them is obscure and it’s almost hard to see the distinction unless you look closely. The outfield wall is original and made of painted concrete panels. It sweeps in a perfect circular arc from pole to pole. When it was built, this ballpark was the only professional stadium in the world with exactly the same distance from home plate to the fence at every point along the wall, 340 feet, but the repositioning of the field has changed that.
Doenges Stadium is a fine example of a community recognizing that it has a gem in its midst, then putting in the work to preserve it and allow it to shine. If a new independent or wooden bat collegiate league where to set up shop in the footprint of the old K-O-M League, Bartlesville is one town that is well-prepared to receive them.