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Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball

Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball Continues its Impact on the Community

Batter Up

Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball Continues its Impact on the Community

Writer / Seth Johnson
Photography Provided

Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball

When it comes to the mission of Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball (NBRB), Board President Chris Thomas puts it quite simply.

“We want to provide a safe, fun and enjoyable family experience, whether you’re going to be the number-one draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft or you’re going to be the number-one musician at your high school,” Thomas says. “I don’t care which one you’re going to be, but I want you to have a place to play baseball if you choose to.”

For more than 50 years, NBRB has provided youth ages 13 to 18 with recreational baseball in the spring and fall. Run by community volunteers, the league calls Forest Park home, where games take place on two regulation diamonds – Logan and Emmerson fields.

Noblesville Babe Ruth BaseballSince coming on as the board president in October of 2019, Thomas has made it his mission to leave NBRB a better league than he found it. With volunteer participation in the league at an all-time low when he came on, and a board that was in the red financially, he quickly began setting goals – the first of which was to get more volunteers to join him on the board.

“We doubled the size of our board within about eight months,” says Thomas, adding that he’s added 10 new board members in the last 18 months. “Some of that was just simply asking people to join. Some of that was we had people complain on our website or the park’s website, and my exact response to those people was, ‘Great. I need help on the board. Come and help us.’ What was really fun was most of the people said, ‘OK. Let’s do it.’”

Secondly, Thomas made it his goal to build upon NBRB’s community partners in hopes of fostering more sponsorship dollars for the league.

“We had to go out and reach out to our community partners because the year before, they only had $1,000 in sponsorships,” he says. “If you know anything about running a business or even a volunteer organization, $1,000 in sponsorships is just simply not going to cut it. We were really able to tell our story to a lot of community partners, and we’ve averaged between $10,000 and $20,000 per year the past two years in sponsorships, which is simply amazing for us.”

Lastly, Thomas started up a conversation with Beaver Materials Chef Executive Officer Chris Beaver, who was looking to honor the late Jane Beaver’s legacy. Known for being a huge fan of attending sporting events in which her grandchildren participated, Jane spent countless days out at Forest Park cheering on her family’s teams.

“Through some business connections I had and some old Babe Ruth connections I had, I was able to link up with Chris Beaver, and we were able to come up with a partnership where they have a naming rights agreement to the facility,” Thomas says. “Now, our facility is the Jane Beaver Legacy Diamonds at Forest Park. We were able to really do something special with the Beaver family to honor her and the league, and it really helps us with a sponsorship for years to come so we can do some of the things we need to do.”

Noblesville Babe Ruth BaseballWith increased board and sponsorship involvement, Thomas has been able to make many much-needed improvements to the baseball facilities. He says NBRB leaders have put about $40,000 back into their facility throughout the past 12 to 14 months.

“We put brand-new dirt on Logan Field,” Thomas says. “We’ve completely redone the outfield fence on Logan Field. We’ve put a new side fence on Logan Field on the first-base side. This winter we’re going to give it new sod, laser grade and everything. Starting August 1, we’re going to redo Emmerson Field – new dirt, laser grade, new sod. We’re putting in new fences back there and small things like batting cages. The batting cage on Emmerson Field hadn’t been used in close to four or five years because the board never reinvested in new netting.”

With all of these new improvements, NBRB has seen an increase in player registration, with 197 players registered in 2021 versus 145 in 2020.

In looking at the impact NBRB and its facility can have on the surrounding area, Thomas ultimately hopes to shine a light on Noblesville as families make their way to the community and experience its culture.

“We want to be that place that helps drive people to Noblesville and have them spend more money here,” Thomas says. “If they can come in for a tournament, stay in Noblesville, eat at our restaurants and shop at our places of business, it’s a great thing for the community.”

Noblesville Babe Ruth Baseball holds its leagues at Jane Beaver Memorial Diamonds in Forest Park. Learn more about their fall and spring seasons for youth ages 13 to 18 by visiting NoblesvilleBabeRuthBaseball.com.

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