A Field Full of Memories

The St. Mary's Baseball and Softball Fields

“I’ve always admired the Rattler [base]ball team. I was privileged to be a part of the renovations… I bled a lot for the university and caring for the whole physical plant [St. Mary’s] is important to me." -- Bro. Jim Jaeckle.

The St. Mary’s baseball fields have a storied history. Formerly known as V.J. Keefe Field from 1958-2011, the fields’ history have been forged by numerous events from their construction to attending San Antonio Dodgers games to national championships.

Brother Jim Jaeckle returned to St. Mary’s in 1969 after graduating in 1965 and was put in charge of repairs of V.J. Keefe Field. Jaeckle worked on included changing the light fixtures, built the stairwells in the office, built stools for the dugouts, and much more. Jaeckle and his crew were resourceful with the materials used to renovate V.J. Keefe field. All the metal from the fencing around the field and the facade came from an old Volkswagen factory that burned down in east San Antonio. In 1970-71, Brother Jim worked on the batting cages, most of the material used to build it came from the old Mission Stadium in the south side of San Antonio.

Student athletes have also shared memories of the fields. As a senior, Leticia Morales-Bisaro was the pitcher of the first national championship for the St. Mary’s softball team in 1986. The softball fields didn’t have many facilities including bathrooms. In fact, Morales-Bisaro recalled that they didn’t even have a permanent fence; they had to use a portable one. Leticia’s jersey, number 24, was retired after she graduated. When her daughter in the played softball here in the 2010s, Leticia’s number came out of retirement for her daughter to use. Her daughter also witnessed the transition from V.J. Keefe Field to Dickson Stadium. While she never played on V.J. Keefe field—she played on the softball fields—she did have good memories of it. Leticia used to work with the San Antonio Missions, which home stadium was V.J. Keefe Field.

V.J. Keefe Field was the home of the San Antonio Dodgers--now the Missions--before moving to Nelson Wolff Stadium in 1993. LaRae Sleeter had fond memories of watching SA Dodgers games at V.J. Keefe Field with her father. In fact, the stadium influenced her decision to attend St. Mary’s. As a student from 1988-1993 she attended a few games because she had a friend on the team.

Baseball goes back as far as the campus itself. It was one of the first facilities to be built on this campus. In 2011, the Rattlers played their final game on V.J. Keefe Field. The fields have undergone several renovations since then. While in school, LaRae Sleeter recalled talks of renovations coming to the baseball fields; however, they didn’t happen until after she graduated. Even though the stadium experienced a myriad of renovations since its inception in 1958, the actual ground has remained the same.



Excerpt of interview of Brother Jim Jaeckle
Brother Jim Jaeckle discusses the time he changed the light fixtures for V.J. Keefe Field. ~ Source: Interview of Brother Jim Jaeckle by Jose Diaz ~ Date: March 21, 2019
View File Record