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History

Wooster Youth Baseball was founded in 1948 by Denton Fuller.  Miller Field did not exist at that time, and games were played at the fairgrounds and at City Park.  Miller Field was dedicated in 1958 on land donated to the program by Art Miller.  The ball park was named after Mr. Miller's son, Capt. William Miller.  The initial land parcel included the property to the right of the entrance drive on which North and South Miller Fields are located.  The only structure existing at that time, in addition to the in ground dugouts, was the clubhouse located behind the North and South Miller backstops.   In 1958, Highland ave was at a lower elevation than it is today, and people would park along the street. At that time Portage Road was level with the outfield of South Miller Field, and a small bridge crossed over Little Apple Creek.  

 

Dedicatory Plaque on concession stand

 

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Who was William Franklin Miller Sr.? Shining light on Miller Fields Namesake  

By MIKE PLANT 
Daily Record Sports Writer 

WOOSTER -- The man for whom Miller Field is named never got the chance to play baseball there. But William Franklin Miller Sr. accomplished a great deal in his life, which was tragically cut short on Nov. 30, 1954, when he was killed in an industrial accident.  

Even in death, though, Miller was a hero. He died trying to save a co-worker's life and was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism. 

In his honor, Miller's father, Arthur, donated the land at the corner of Portage Road and Highland Ave., which has been the home of Wooster Youth Baseball, Inc. for 50 seasons. Arthur Miller's company, Holmes Construction, built the fields. William Miller was a 1937 graduate of Wooster High School, where he was president of his senior class and the WHS Student Senate. He excelled on the football field as a quarterback, defensive back and, not surprisingly, a team captain. As a senior, when the Generals were 5-3-3, he snared six interceptions on defense. In a 13-0 win over Orrville, he pinned the Red Riders inside the 10 with punts three times, and he also ran in an extra point after Wooster's first touchdown. 

At The College of Wooster, Miller played quarterback and punted and served as his class president as a junior and senior. Following his graduation in 1941, Miller joined the Army Corps of Engineers. As a captain, Miller was awarded two Bronze Stars for gallantry in action. 

During the ceremony held on June 8, 1958, to dedicate the park in Miller's name, one of the speakers was Dr. John Williams of the First Presbyterian church, with Miller's father and his widow Barbara among those in attendance. "Bill Miller was as clean as they come, a true sportsman, a strong competitor and a man of honor," Williams said in his remarks. "He lived as he died -- and we can never forget that he sacrificed his own life to save the life of another. Even so he did live, not for himself, but for those with whom and for whom he lived. 

"Even if Art Miller has nothing to do with the establishing of this Park, it would be most fitting that it be named as a memorial to Bill Miller," Williams added. "For character cannot be created without an ideal and Bill represents that ideal. 

"People grow into the image of the ideal they constantly hold before their mind. If Bill's true story could be told to every youngster who uses this field, told without adding or subtracting anything, the youngsters will be the better for it." A leader -- on the fields of play and battle and in the classroom -- William F. Miller Sr. is honored by the ballpark bearing his name. There is a plaque in his memory on the concession stand at Miller Fields.  

Mike Plant can be reached at 330-287-1649 or mplant@the-daily-record.com  

[Source: The Daily Record (Wooster) Obituaries, June 9, 2008]  

History of Wooster Youth Baseball

40's and 50's 

Wooster Youth Baseball was founded in 1948 by Denton Fuller. Miller Field did not exist at that time, and games were played at the fairgrounds and at City Park. Miller Field was dedicated in 1958 on land donated to the program by Art Miller. The ball park was named after Mr. Miller's son, Capt. William Miller. The initial land parcel included the property to the right of the entrance drive on which North and South Miller Fields are located. The only structure existing at that time, in addition to the in ground dugouts, was the clubhouse located behind the North and South Miller backstops. In 1958, Highland Ave was at a lower elevation than it is today, and people would park along the street. At that time Portage Road was level with the outfield of South Miller Field, and a small bridge crossed over Little Apple Creek. 

 

An aerial view photographed in 1958 shows the new Miller Fields.

 

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Denton Fuller (left) supervising work on N. Miller Dugout

 

 

1960's 

The sixties brought change to Wooster Youth Baseball. Denton Fuller passed away in 1966 and Bill Wile was named Program Director. Plans for and eventual construction of the Dix Expressway changed the surroundings of Miller field, and a portion of the property was taken for highway construction. In 1967 Art Miller made a second donation of Land, the parcel of property to the north of the entrance drive. Sometime during this period, the maintenance garage was built, but the decade ended with devastating damage to the ball fields from the 1969 flood.  

 

Bill Wile discussing schedule with a trio of young ballplayers

70's and 80's 

 

 The State built high banks on the south and west sides of the property as part of the Portage Rd overpass project. This resulted in difficult access to the original clubhouse. Construction of the Concession Stand took place in the early part of the 1970’s. Bill Wile guided the program through this decade of changing landscapes. The later part of the decade saw rising insurance costs and decreased enrollments (due to the availability of other summer programs) which began to cause a financial strain on the program. The trend continued through the early part of the 1980’s resulting in the decision to Charter with Little League Baseball, Inc. in 1988. Instant growth was realized requiring the addition of a seventh Farm League (Today’s Minor League) team which brought the total number of teams in Wooster’s Little League program back up to 14. The end of the decade saw increased growth with another team being added in 89' and 3 more teams in 1990.  

1990's 

Tragedy! Entering the 90’s, Wooster Youth Baseball was experiencing an era of rapid growth and success.  Two more Little League teams were added for a total of 20 teams,  and rosters were maximized with total enrollment in excess of 300 kids.  The 1991 season was just about to get underway with much anticipation when tragedy struck.   In May of that year,   Bill Wile passed away. 

The 1991 season began under new leadership as Brian Smith was elected Program Coordinator by the board of Directors. More work was done on Portage Rd, which gave the necessary fill for the property donated in 1967.  A Three year project was undertaken not only to build Denton Fuller Field,  but to upgrade and refurbish the existing facilities.  The Concession Stand was remodeled for 1992,  and all four dugouts replaced with the current above ground units.  Restrooms were added to the concession stand for 1993, and new lights debuted on North and South Miller Fields on opening night.  

  

                 
 

2000s 

Rededication 

  

50th Anniversary 



 





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