SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Silver Hawks fans may notice something missing this season when they head to Four Winds Field at Stanley Coveleski Stadium. Namely, Stanley Coveleski.
For years they have called the stadium “The Cove,” a name that has become part of the local vernacular.
Will that change?
Efforts to rebrand the stadium with the new name have led to the disappearance of most all references to the Hall of Fame pitcher, who retired to South Bend after a 14-year career with the Athletics, Indians, Senators and Yankees.
The arch above the centerfield entrance that once read “Stanley Coveleski Stadium” now reads “Four Winds Field.” The same is true for the electronic sign outside the old entrance behind home plate.
The Four Winds name – minus “at Stanley Coveleski Stadium” – also appears on the scoreboard, the rooftops above the concourses and above the press box, the South Bend Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/QjBr0U ).
“The Cove” does appear on some signs around the park. And Coveleski’s name and image appear near the main entrance, printed on banners and inscribed into concrete.
But the place clearly belongs to Four Winds.
“The biggest thing, obviously, is you’re going to see a lot of new signage,” team President Joe Hart said.
Team owner Andrew Berlin, who bought the franchise in 2010, sold the naming rights to the stadium for an undisclosed amount in September, becoming the 14th Midwest League owner to do so.
The revenue generated by the 10-year deal is expected to lead to further improvements at the city-owned park, which has benefited from a combined $8 million in public and private investment since 2011.
“This gives us the opportunity now, annually, to continue to reinvest in this facility and make improvements without having to go back to the city to ask for capital improvement money,” Hart said.
He described it as a “win-win” for the team and taxpayers.
As for the park’s namesake, Hart noted the team has hired famed Chicago artist Lou Cella to create a bronze statue of Coveleski to be placed inside the front gates in centerfield.
Even so, former South Bend Mayor Roger Parent, for one, wishes the Coveleski name appeared more prominently. Parent oversaw construction of the park in the 1980s and had a hand in naming it, even meeting with Coveleski at his west-side home to get the OK.
“I’m disappointed in the fact that the Stanley Coveleski name really is not quite there anymore,” Parent said. “It honored someone who was in the Hall of Fame and lived in South Bend for many years.”
At the same time, he said, “If it helps to keep the facility and franchise financially viable, then that’s fine.”
This is an AP Member Exchange story shared by the South Bend Tribune.