Bears Stadium - Boyertown Bears
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
120 Monroe S.
Boyertown, PA 19512
Year Opened: 1982 Capacity: 4,500
The Mecca of Legion Baseball
The year 1982 was a magical year for the town of Boyertown. The small town about an hour north of Philadelphia debuted a brand-new ballpark on August 17 that was unlike anything seen before in the area. Later on that season the stadium hosted the American Legion World Series and wouldn’t you know it, the local team captured its first championship in front of a hometown crowd of 6,563 who packed the building for the 14-8 victory of Lafayette, California, in the decisive game.
Bears Stadium was built as a joint effort between the school district and the American Legion program at a cost of $600,000 with minimal taxpayer contribution and maximum volunteer effort from the community. The finished product was nothing short of spectacular, a 4,500 seat venue featuring a covered grandstand, large press box to accommodate at least a home and away radio broadcast team and grandstand seating down both the first and third baselines.
Boyertown Post 471 would be quite the dominate legion ball club during the 1980s making a second World Series appearance in 1983 and winning another championship four years later in 1987. That 1987 team won the state championship by defeating a Montoursville team featuring future Hall of Famer Mike Mussina on the mound. The Bears chased him after a 9-1 lead after 5 innings.
The three World Series held at the stadium attracted a total of close to 84,000 people, including the 34,023 in attendance for the 1982 series that was the highest since the Legion went to its current 8-team double-elimination tournament format.
The club would add another appearance in the final game in 1988. The stadium itself would be home to two more World Series in 1991 and 1994. The Bears have won 11 of the 24 tournaments in which they have hosted or participated. The stadium has also been home to high school state playoff tournaments beyond county level in 30 seasons that include 10 Mid-Atlantic tournaments.
Currently, the stadium is home to both Post 471 and the Boyertown High School baseball program. It now features decorative bear statues that flank the entrance to the ballpark and can also be found throughout specific areas in town. Its design, features, and history lead to a rival high school coach Kevin Manero to dubb it the “Mecca of Legion Baseball.”
Food & Beverage 3
There is a concession stand located behind the main grandstand and is open every game with a great variety from burgers, hot dogs, meatball sandwiches, soft pretzels and plenty of soft drinks. The prices range from $2 to $5 and are quite impressive for this level of baseball, but then again Bears Stadium is not your typical Legion stadium.
A very laid back atmosphere for American Legion games, but during regional and tournament games, the vibe gets a much-needed boost of excitement. The ballpark itself would fit in nicely in some of the lower levels of Minor League Baseball–with a few additional touches–and is an impressive palace for both high school and Legion baseball.
The exterior of the grandstand is colored in white and red featuring the name of the stadium in a simple font and team logos of the Post 471 and the high school team. There are three areas of seats that include a main grandstand behind home plate that offers a roof that provides a nice shade during hot summer days.
There is also a team store that offers souvenirs from shirts and caps next to the third base bleacher seats. The outfield walls are lined up with local advertisements and a simple scoreboard behind the left field wall.
Boyertown is a small town of 4,000 located in Berks County in between the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. The town offers a few places of interest that include The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles specializing in the state’s road transportation history. There are over 90 locally-built vehicles, from horse-drawn carriages and wagons to motorcycles. The museum also includes a 1938 Reading Diner and a 1921 Sun Oil Gas Station.
Another popular attraction in town is the Colebrookdale Railroad and is not to be missed. Connecting Pottstown and Boyertown, this Civil War-era relic invites passengers to explore for themselves a mythical Secret Valley.
Restaurant options include Carmelo’s Pizza & Boli’s, Firefly Cafe (vegan), The Bear’s Den, and Talarico’s Sandwich Shop. The Other Farm Brewing Company is the town’s own nano-brewery located on Main Street and also features wood-fired pizza.
The crowd is made up of friends and families, along with a few locals who support the Bears various programs. A very ardent and knowledgeable group of people are in the grandstands; this is definitely a baseball-loving town.
Depending on where you are coming from, Bears Stadium can be a small little journey. It is around 41 and 48 miles respectively from Philadelphia and Allentown, but only a short 20 miles from Reading on state roads. Once you find the ballpark, the open layout ensures you can get around without issues or concerns.
Return on Investment 3
Admission is free and a donation hat is passed through stands during the game–a nice little throwback. There is a lot of great baseball played at the ballpark and its location is not too far away if you happen to be in the area watching games at nearby Pennsylvania ballparks: Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Limeport Stadium in Limeport, and even Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.
Bears Stadium features a statue of a bear that is decorated. The statue is part of Bear Fever project that decorates numerous bear statues around the town to tie the community together.
Bears Stadium receives a second point for being in a cradle of impressive ballparks from the major leagues to the high school level. Boyertown is within an hour drive of seven different baseball stadiums that are in all shapes and sizes that include the major leagues, minor leagues, summer collegiate leagues, and amateur leagues.