In 1989, Universal Pictures’ baseball-themed family fantasy Field of Dreams became a box office and subsequent home entertainment hit. Kevin Costner co-starred as a Iowa farmer who in a tribute to his deceased father, a baseball fan, plows his cornfield and builds a makeshift baseball diamond (“If you build it, he will come”) so ghosts from the disgraced 1919 Chicago White Sox World Series team can re-emerge and play ball.
In that series with the Cincinnati Reds, eight members of the White Sox, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, were accused of throwing the contest for money, in what would become known as the Black Sox Scandal. The players were permanently banned from MLB — despite their acquittal in a trial two years later. The movie was based on the W.P. Kinsella novel Shoeless Joe.
Aug. 12, Major League Baseball came to Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed, to feature the White Sox playing the New York Yankees. It was the first MLB game ever played in Iowa, and a reported 8,000 people showed up, including Costner, to watch in a specially constructed stadium in a cornfield near the field built for the movie. The game featured throwback jerseys, eight home runs, and the White Sox winning 9-8 on a walk-off blast in the bottom of the ninth inning by Tim Anderson. The game, “MLB at Field of Dreams Game presented by GEICO,” aired live on Fox Sports.
“Being able to walk it off was definitely one of the best moments of my career, for sure,” Anderson told the media after the game.
“That was as special and breathtaking a setting for a baseball game as I’ve ever been part of,” added Yankees skipper Aaron Boone.