PARKER, Ariz. -- Located just 400 miles from his hometown of Visalia, Calif., Aaron Hill now has a field dedicated in his honor that will benefit Little League players for many years to come in the town of Parker, Ariz. With financial support from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Hill, and Arizona Public Service, the field was a complete build featuring a brand new scoreboard, lights, grass, infield dirt, bases, fencing and dugouts.
"The town of Parker earned this and they deserve it," said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. "Parker is a special community, a proud community, and for us to be a part in providing something that will allow entertainment for kids for many years is very exciting. The name on this scoreboard is one that the town will be proud of and serve as an idol for the youth of Parker for years to come."
As the 33rd field in the "Diamonds Back" program, local Little League teams will be able to play at a quality facility for several years. Parker was selected through a grant process in which the town had submitted for three straight years. On Dec. 23, residents in the town of Parker received the news that the D-backs had chosen the town as the future home of Aaron Hill Field in a very special way, via Santa Claus at a town meeting. Monday, more than 600 school children were in attendance to see Hill throw out the first pitch at the new field. During the dedication ceremony, Hill was given the "Keys to the City" by Parker mayor Dan Beaver.
"I am very fortunate to wear the D-backs uniform every day and I hope that the new field will play host to a lot of dreams, a lot of bottom-of-the-ninth situations for the kids, fun memories and a lot of life lessons," said Hill.
With the success Hill saw last season and the proximity between his hometown and current home in Phoenix, Parker seemed to be the perfect fit for Aaron Hill Field. Last June, Hill became just the second player in the modern era of Major League Baseball to hit for two cycles in a season and did it just 11 days apart on June 18 and June 29. He also recorded his 1,000th hit during his second cycle and his .300 batting average last season led all National League second basemen. Hill's hitting success earned him his second Silver Slugger Award and he was a finalist for the Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each league.
Hill signed a contract extension in February that will keep him in Arizona another three years and to show his commitment to the D-backs, he wanted to leave a lasting legacy in the state of Arizona and personally helped finance the field that was dedicated in his name. The field will help grow the sport of baseball and allow youth in the town of Parker to be a part of a team like Hill experiences with the D-backs.
"I couldn't be more proud to have the Arizona Diamondbacks be a part of this," Beaver said. "Residents of the town of Parker are D-backs fans and the D-backs mean everything to this community. This field will serve as a sense of pride and responsibility for the kids and will provide an opportunity to teach skills, trust, teamwork and goal-setting that translates into a better quality of life. This field, the Aaron Hill Field, will provide much more than we could have ever imagined for our youth."
Parker is located along the Colorado River, just a few miles from the California border. The town boasts a population of more than 3,000 people and much of the land surrounding the town of Parker is owned by the Colorado River Indian Community. Although there is a sports complex that features youth baseball fields located within the Colorado River Indian Reservation, Aaron Hill Field will be the first youth field owned and operated by the Parker community. The field will help expand the local Little League program and will allow Parker area youth to participate in America's pastime and learn the fundamentals of the sport.
"This was the biggest turnout I have seen for a Diamondbacks and APS field dedication," said APS chairman and CEO Don Brandt. "This field is remarkable and APS is proud to partner with the Diamondbacks in helping bring baseball not only to Parker, but to towns all across Arizona. These fields will be great places to create memories for ballplayers and their communities for years to come."
The "Diamonds Back" program would not be possible without the help of APS. As a partner in the program, APS helps financially support the construction of each field, featuring key elements such as new scoreboards and lights that are essential in providing a safe environment for kids to play ball.
Katie Krause is a corporate communications manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks.