This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Field of Dreams, the highly-acclaimed baseball movie based on the W.P. Kinsella novel “Shoeless Joe” about an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball field where the ghosts of baseball players in the early 20th century come out of the cornfields to play ball.
The story dives much deeper, but I don’t want to ruin it for those that haven’t had a chance to read the novel or see the film.
One quarter century later, baseball and movie fans continue to visit the Dyersville, Iowa movie set.
Nick Vetter, formerly of Coon Rapids, and his company Low and Inside, LLC, compiled the silver-anniversary book that serves as a guide to the farmstead to help visitors fully appreciate the surroundings.
The official souvenir book is 36 pages with plenty of information to keep any fan of the movie or of baseball entertained for a long time. Vetter first created the program in 1999 after a trip to Dyersville.
The first visitors to the property owned by Don Lansing had a guest registry book, a newsletter-style program and sold hats and T-shirts.
Historical information was updated for the anniversary edition, including messages left in the guest book and an introduction from the perspective of the field from the farm field days through the destination for baseball fans.
The program, also available at Target Field, is broken down into 10 sections including the field’s perspective; ghost players; an interview with Dwier Brown who played John Kinsella; a piece on W.P. Kinsella; a piece about “Shoeless” Joe Jackson; a profile about Kevin Costner and his role in the film; a piece about “Moonlight” Graham; movie trivia; most asked questions and fun and games.
As part of the anniversary celebration, Vetter experienced one of the biggest thrills of his life – playing catch with Costner on the Dyersville farmstead during the silver anniversary celebration.
“He pointed at one of the visitors we got in line and played catch with him a little bit,” Vetter said, adding Costner was appreciative and cordial to the fans. “He realized what that movie has meant to his career and a generation that grew up watching that movie.”
Vetter said he’s always been a baseball fan with sons Aspen and Sage growing up playing baseball in the Anoka program. Aspen will be a freshman at UW-Stout after playing for the Legion Post 102 team this summer. Sage is part of the Anoka VFW team.
“They enjoy it but I don’t force it on them,” Vetter said. In fact, a photo of then 2-year-old Aspen was used on the back cover of the program with the quote made famous by Terrance Mann, played by James Earl Jones: “This field, this game is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that was good and that could be good again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Aspen and his Legion baseball teammates had a chance to visit Dyersville on a team trip to Missouri.
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