In April of 1955, Bill Virdon walked on a Major League baseball field for the first time as a player. He would go on to win the National League Rookie of the Year for the St. Louis Cardinals. It began a 12 year Major League career in which he would go on to win a World Series and a Gold Glove in center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Following his playing days, Bill moved on to a long and successful career as the Manager of four Major League teams. He and his family settled during most of his career and since here in Springfield, Missouri, where he has been a fixture in local sports and community projects.
Bill and his wife Shirley have been champions of youth baseball in the Ozarks for many years. Their continued support and encouragement of the Springfield Metro Baseball Association and Little Guys Baseball Club have been instrumental in promoting quality youth baseball in Southwest Missouri.
In recognition of the Virdon’s support of the local leagues, youth sports in general, his contribution to Springfield, and his long and successful career in baseball, the decision was made to rename the entire west Sunshine complex, “the Bill Virdon Sports Complex.” Dedication of the facility occurred in May 2016 with the opening ceremonies of the Springfield Metro Baseball Association and a fund was established at Oak Star Bank to secure donations for the project.
Our plans are to develop a new retro themed park on the site that will recognize Bill’s long career along with other Springfield-based Major League Baseball players. The “House of Thrills” would complement the Metro league’s vintage format and provide the Little Guys Baseball Club with added opportunity to provide baseball tournaments and regular game play to other programs around town. The leagues have already managed to secure some infrastructure from the recently dismantled Strafford sports complex including lights, fencing, and other materials. We are prepared to compensate major sponsors in a variety of ways to show our appreciation for their support of youth baseball.
In 2017, Little Guys Baseball became an agency partner with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to assist in the development of this project and other youth programming. Community Foundation of Ozarks Link.
For questions related to the project please contact Travis Zarechi or Rob Ginocchio.
Little Guys Baseball Club
Springfield Metro Baseball