It felt like home
A couple of stories from The Hawkeye in Burlington on the Bees welcoming the A’s back to town.
The last time the Oakland A’s and Burlington Bees fielded a team
together in the Midwest League was 1974. But the A’s felt right at home
when they made their first visit to Community Field since that year.
The marquee in front of the stadium greeted Oakland, welcoming the club to Burlington.
“We were driving in today and we were just driving around the corner and
(director of minor league operations) Ted (Polakowski) goes, ‘Hey, take
a look at that,'” said Keith Lieppman, Oakland’s director of player
development. “A’s, Bees. It was a very nice combination, one that showed
“It felt like home,” Polakowski inserted.
“That was good. Those are those small touches most people probably
wouldn’t have gone through the trouble to do,” Lieppman added.
Most players return to Community Field after years away and are in awe
of the changes in the field since their time with the Burlington Bees.
For Keith Lieppman, it was even more a change.
Lieppman, the Director of Player Development for the Oakland A’s, played
for the Bees in 1971. That year, the stadium grandstands burned to the
ground. The season went on and volunteers rebuilt the stadium.
“This is 40 years since I’ve been here and this is the first time back,”
Lieppman said Wednesday after touring the facility. “It’s taken my
brain a little bit of time to get around what I used to remember.
(General manager) Chuck (Brockett) has helped me, and Ed (Larson), so
it’s been good so far.”
Lieppman and Ted Polakowski, Director of Minor League Operations, were
in town for the first time since the Bees and A’s signed a Player
Lieppman joined the Bees after being selected in the second round of the
1971 draft. During that season, Lieppman batted .295 with 14 home runs,
27 doubles, 71 RBI and an .808 OPS.
Wow, the A’s kept track of OPS way back in 1971? They WERE ahead of the curve. Kidding.