TWENTY YEARS OF STORMING - Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

By Dave Collins, Clipper Magazine Stadium
A feature piece from our Spring 2024 issue of the Lancaster Thriving Publication.

Clipper Magazine Stadium opened its doors to the public for the first time on May 11, 2005. Since then, the facility has brought joy, community and excitement to the people of Lancaster County.

The primary tenant of Clipper Magazine Stadium, of course, has been the Lancaster Stormers, known, until just recently, as the Barnstormers. Over the years, the club has won over 1,200 games, reached the playoffs eight times, brought four championship trophies to Lancaster and hosted two All-StarGames.

Lancaster has had four Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year honors, three Players of the Year, two Managers of the Year and two Defensive Players of the Year.

Stormers fans have been able to watch former World Series performers like Cody Eppley and Michael Martinez on their own club and Major League legends such as Carl Everett and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez on the other side.

Hall of Famers Tim Raines, Sr. and Gary Carter have operated in the visitors dugout as managers as has star left-hander Tommy John. Meanwhile, Lancaster has had their own cavalcade of Major League celebrities like Tommy Herr, Rick Wise, Von Hayes and Butch Hobson in charge of the Stormers.

Other players, not so well known nationally, have become local legends. Ross Peeples arrived as a young pitcher for the inaugural season, appeared in 374 games as a Barnstormer, joined Hobson’s staff as the bench coach and became the manager in 2017. The Georgia native has become a Lancaster fixture, known around the stadium as “The Mayor.”Blake Gailen, the 2012 Atlantic League Player of the Year, used his seven-year, record-setting time in Lancaster as a springboard to other stops in his career, including a trip to the Tokyo Olympics with Team Israel.

The Stormers have also allowed local players to excel. From Eric Ackerman, through Aaron Herr and Pete Andrelczyk, and, more recently, Joseph Carpenter and now Kyle Hess have all gotten the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in front of the home crowd.

More than five and one-quarter million fans have been able to enjoy the spring and summer, rooting for the team on Prince Street. Last year’s figure reached nearly 243,000 with another 15,000 on hand for Lancaster’s four playoff home games.

As anyone who comes to the stadium knows, the facility is hardly dormant while the Barnstormers are away or getting their off-season revitalization. Management and the Lancaster community keep the property abuzz throughout all seasons. With the addition of artificial turf for the spring of 2024, the number of outside events is likely to increase in the future.

Clipper Magazine Stadium has served as host to concerts, with acts like Kenny G and Bryan Adams entertaining the crowds. Soccer and football have both been played on the field over the years. There have been a winter slide and an ice rink. More recently, when the Barnstormers have not been home, the field has been filled up with local teams in a kickball league.

On numerous summer Saturdays, area artisans are able to display their wares at expos around the concourse. The Farm Show and the RV Show have become annual major events on the stadium grounds.

The ballpark has been home to weddings, graduations and even a few Celebrations of Life. It has been the site of a Fete en Blanc.

Each year, the holiday season has become special on Prince Street. The Christmas Spirit Light Show draws ooh’s and aah’s from carloads winding their way through the course created in the parking lot and field at Clipper Magazine Stadium. At the same time, Christmas Tree Lane on the concourse is absolutely breathtaking. Both events benefit a number of different charities.

Speaking of charities, the stadium hosts a number of food drives, clothing drives, fundraising walks and runs. The annual Rep. Sturla backpack giveaway takes place prior to a Sunday afternoon game late in the summer.

Clipper Magazine Stadium is meant to be a major community center. It has served its purpose. Plans are to expand that purpose as the stadium reaches its 20th season.

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