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Modern Woodmen Park

From BR Bullpen

  • Name: Modern Woodmen Park
  • GPS-able Address: 209 S Gaines Street, Davenport, IA 52802
  • Ballpark Owner: City of Davenport
  • Architects: Clausen, Kruse & Klein
  • Groundbreaking: 11/6/1930
  • Minor League Baseball Teams: Quad Cities River Bandits (A+) 2021-present; Quad Cities River Bandits (A) 2008-2020; Swing of the Quad Cities (A) 2005-2007; Quad Cities River Bandits (A) 1992-2004; Quad Cities Angels (A) 1985-1991; Quad Cities Cubs (A) 1979-1984; Quad Cities Angels (A) 1963-1978; Quad Cities Angels (D) 1962; Davenport Braves (D) 1960-1961; Davenport DavSox (B) 1957-1958; Davenport Tigers (B) 1951-1952; Davenport Quads (B) 1950; Davenport Pirates (B) 1946-1949; Davenport Blue Sox (A) 1931-1937
  • Class/League History: A+/Midwest League 2022-present; A+/High-A Central 2021; A/Midwest League 1963-2020; D/Midwest League 1960-1961; B/Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League 1957-1958; B/Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League 1946-1952; A/Western League 1934-1937; B/Mississippi Valley League 1933; D/Mississippi Valley League 1931-1932
  • First Professional Baseball Game: 5/26/1931; stadium debut of Class D Blue Sox
  • Others Playing or Operatin Here: None
  • Previous Ballpark Names: John O'Donnell Stadium 1971-2007; Municipal Stadium 1931-1970
  • LF: 343 CF: 400 RF: 318
  • Seats: 3,700
  • Stated Capacity: 4,024
  • House Baseball/Softball Record Attendance (as currently configured): 8,207, 7/31/2015


Davenport IA.jpg

Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, IA, is the home of the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Kansas City Royals' High-A Midwest League farm team. It has one of Minor League Baseball's most picturesque settings, longest history, and unique brands.

Picturesque? The stadium lies just north of the Mississippi River, in a stretch where the Big Muddy runs east to west, with a spectacular view of Rock Island Memorial Bridge and a railroad outside left field. Home runs knocked out of it often land in the Mississippi.

History? Davenport professional ball traces to 1879, this ballpark to 1931, its team's franchise to 1960 and its current brand to 2008 - or 1992, depending how technically one looks at it.

Unique brands? Quad Cities:

In the last third of the 1800s, Davenport and the Illinois cities of Rock Island and Moline began taking on a regional identity and by World War I were calling themselves the Tri-Cities. Around the time then-Municipal Stadium opened in 1931, East Moline, IL, got into the act and the name "Quad Cities" was born. Bettendorf, IA, passed East Moline in population in the late 1940s, but an effort to rebrand as "Quint Cities" failed.[1]

Davenport baseball teams nevertheless styled themselves by their city name until the Davsox dropped out of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League after the 1958 season. When Davenport landed a Midwest League franchise in 1960, it went to the regional-name concept but - oddly - as the singular "Quad City". After changing nicknames with affiliations along the way, the Quad City Angels became the Quad City River Bandits in 1992. After their four-season experiment with something really different, Swing of the Quad Cities, they adopted Quad Cities River Bandits in 2008 - for the first time taking the precise (plural) regional name.

Modern Woodmen and the Quad Cities nearly lost affiliated baseball in MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization. The Bandits reportedly replaced the Beloit Snappers on the kill list when the latter landed a deal to build a new stadium. However, when the final invitations were issued to prospective farm teams, the Bandits squeaked through at the expense of the Kane County Cougars - who are now in the independent American Association.

The reorganization greatly expanded existing standards for stadiums hosting affiliated teams, resulting in a $2.5-million renovation project that should be finished in time for the 2023 season.

Opened as Municipal Stadium on May 26, 1931, it cost all of $185,000. Davenport built it to allow night games, and it hosted the first professional baseball game ever played under permanent lights that June 4th.[1][2] Municipal also hosted Negro Leagues baseball in at least the 1930s.

HOK Sport (now Populous), which didn't exist in 1931, perfected its "downtown retro" design in the 1980s and has since renovated this playpen three times. The original Municipal appears to be what the concept retros to. HOK's 2004 rehab was so thorough some say it created a new ballpark.

Flooding has been a constant issue, with the playing field often being completely underwater - most notably in The Great Flood of 1993. Flood protections installed in the 2004 project clearly prevented damage from several subsequent floods - although 2019's biblical event forced the Bandits to play 19 of their first 21 home games elsewhere anyway because their home, while playable, wasn't accessible. A 2023 flood also completely surrounded the playpen and made much of its parking unusable, but no dates were missed because the Bandits were on the road. Owner Dave Heller points out that was their only two-week road trip of the season and "the flood crested right smack in the middle" of the two road series. Floodwater remained around the ballpark on their May 9th return, but the stadium's flood walls were keeping it out and the game was played as scheduled.

The 2004 project also reduced seating by about 1,200.

Renamed in 1971 for local sports editor John O'Donnell, its second moniker carried over through the renovations but changed under a 2007 contract with the financial service. Modern Woodman Park received a notable addition in 2009, when a new high-definition ribbon board was added along the right field fence and four new concourse-level "loge boxes" were installed to accommodate small groups of people. A 110-foot Ferris wheel beyond the left field wall followed in 2014.

The star of the film Sugar (2008) was the first stadium hosting a professional team to protect every seat in the grandstand against foul balls with netting.

Media[edit]

Baseball Historian Tim Rask wrote Baseball at Davenport's John O'Donnell Stadium, released in 2004.[1]

References[edit]


Current ballparks in the Midwest League
East Division West Division
Classic Park | Day Air Ballpark | Dow Diamond | Jackson Field | LMCU Ballpark | Parkview Field ABC Supply Stadium | Dozer Park | Four Winds Field | Fox Cities Stadium | Modern Woodmen Park | Veterans Memorial Stadium