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In 2009, Darrell Alleman built his own “Field of Dreams” at his farm in Granville, and since then he’s held games there for his family and area baseball and softball teams.
Now a real ghost baseball player is coming.
OK, not really a ghost, but a guy who played one in the movie “Field of Dreams.”
Frank Dardis, who played one of the ghost players who emerged from the corn in the 1989 movie, will visit Alleman’s “Field of Dreams” — located at 11915 E. 1250th St. — for a free community event Friday sponsored by Alleman and the Putnam County Rotary.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., Dardis will interact with children on the field before having parents come out to “have a catch” with their children.
While the families are playing catch, Dardis will sign autographs and will have memorabilia from the “Field of Dreams” movie set in Dyersville, Iowa.
The evening will be capped by a showing of the movie on a large screen.
“It’s real exciting to me,” Alleman said about having a “Field of Dreams” actor come to his field for the event. “The Rotary is about children, getting education for children and curing polio and all that, but we also like to do fun things, so it works for me and Rotary to have this event. It’s going to mean a lot to the Rotary and a lot to the Alleman family.
“I hope people will come and enjoy the evening.”
The evening came about when Alleman and his wife, Jeanne, visited the Field of Dreams movie set while in Iowa for their grandson’s wedding and met Dardis.
“They’re wonderful people. Luckily, it wasn’t very busy so we had a chance to sit down on the bleachers and talk. They told me the story about having built a field on their farm,” Dardis said. “They’re a real life Ray and Annie Kinsella (the main characters in the movie). I was touched by it. As we got talking, Darrell said, ‘Would you ever consider coming?’
“For someone to take the time to build a field on their farm and care that much about baseball, I said I would love to.”
Dardis along with other “Ghost Players” have made appearances all over the U.S. and even out of the country, but he said he’s never met anyone else who built their own Field of Dreams.
Dardis has seen pictures Darrell sent him, but is looking forward to seeing the field in person and interacting with the children who attend.
“I encourage people to come,” Dardis said. “I’m looking forward not only to seeing Darrell and Jeanne again, but also seeing the local kids. It’s going to be a fun evening. I can’t wait.”
The event is open to people throughout the Illinois Valley — not just Putnam County.
Area teams are encouraged to come in uniform.
The Putnam County FFA will sell pork chops, hot dogs and soda, while the PC Rotary will sell popcorn and water.
If there is inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Putnam County High School gymnasium.
Kevin Chlum is the NewsTribune Sports Editor. He can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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