Alexandria Little League will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 60-foot baseball diamond at Simpson Stadium Park on Saturday. The event will feature a procession of current players and league alumni and remarks by Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Feller, who visited the field in the 1950s.
The league will also present awards for the best players of the field's first 25 years and last 25 years,.
The day's first game will pit Virginia Concrete against Simpson Development, the same two teams that played before more than 1,000 spectators when the field opened in June, 1953.
"We obviously try to make opening day special every year," said Alexandria Little League President Mike Neilson. "But it became obvious to us that for the 50th anniversary, we should make it extra special. . . .[The field] has just been a centerpiece of the community for 50 years."
When the field opened, it boasted professionally maintained landscaping -- courtesy of the Washington Senators' ground crew -- and lights, making it one of the most highly regarded 60-foot fields in the country, Neilson said. Thousands of players have since used the facility, which is informally known as Little Simpson Field.
Saturday's pre-game festivities are scheduled to begin at noon, with the first game scheduled to start at 1:30. For more information, see www.alexandriabaseball.com or call 703-739-4444.
-- Dan Steinberg