Go the Distance Baseball, LLC, announced Thursday that a venture headed by Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas has purchased a controlling interest in the company’s ownership of All-Star Ballpark Heaven and the iconic “Field of Dreams” Movie Site in Dyersville, Iowa, home of the first Major League Baseball game played in Iowa last month and a second game announced for next year.
Terms of the sale are not public, but the transaction involved the purchase of all the interests in Go the Distance Baseball owned by the Denise M. Stillman Trust by This is Heaven, LLC, a venture between Thomas and Rick Heidner, a Chicago area real estate developer and entrepreneur. Thomas and Heidner (and their families) are longtime friends. Heidner, an avid baseball fan, was an initial investor in Go the Distance Baseball and retains his original minority investment.
Thomas will serve as chief executive officer and Dan Evans will serve as chief operating officer. Mr. Evans, a former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has previously served as a consultant to Go the Distance Baseball. The principals and invited guests planned to hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. CDT today at the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, with remote access available via social media.
“We are excited to lead the future development and expansion of the Field of Dreams in a collaborative spirit with our neighbors and government officials,” Thomas said.
Heidner added: “We are grateful to Tom (Mietzel), and to John and Claire Stillman for entrusting us with their mother’s legacy, and we pledge to preserve her dream and enhance the vision that Denise brought to this sacred site nearly a decade ago.”
Tom Mietzel, the trustee of the trust bearing his late wife’s name, said: “The time is right to move forward, to put in place a team with the resources to make things happen and a team with the baseball and business experience to do it right. The family is confident that we found a buyer that will honor Denise’s legacy and vision for the Field of Dreams.”
Thomas clocked 521 home runs in his career, with five seasons with at least 40 home runs; 1,704 RBI, a .301 career batting average with a .419 on-base percentage, including four seasons where he led the league in OBP; 1,667 walks with four league-leading seasons in bases on balls; five All-Star Game selections; four Silver Slugger Awards; and nine Top 10 finishes in the AL MVP voting, including his back-to-back wins in 1993 and 1994.
Thomas was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014.
“I’m excited about the new ownership of the Field of Dreams property in Dyersville, and want to thank Frank Thomas for his investment in Iowa,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said later Thursday.
“This iconic movie site has drawn millions of people to our state over the years, most recently during the first-ever MLB game held in Iowa between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.
“The Field of Dreams is symbolic of what makes Iowa such a special place, and I’m proud to showcase it for the nation,” she said. “Now, with Frank’s vision, new leadership and strong state and local partnerships, I’m confident that the Field of Dreams will become a world class attraction, and further expand economic development opportunities for Dyersville, its surrounding communities and our state as a whole.
“The State of Iowa is committed to the continued success of this site, and I look forward to working with Frank and his team soon.”
Major League Baseball has announced that the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will square off in the second edition of MLB at Field of Dreams presented by Geico on Aug. 11, 2022, in Dyersville.