AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and has provided many people with many memories.
Here in Amarillo, Potter County Memorial Stadium, aka the “Dilla Villa,” provided many of them.
“I remember as a child, little girl, my dad, my brother, my next door neighbor, now we’re going to baseball games where we actually saw Joe Pepitone play,” said Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner. “He was the first baseman for the Gold Sox that was naming the team. He went on to be the first baseman for the New York Yankees. He was the very first superstar that we got to see play at the at the at the stadium there at the time.”
Ronnie Granger, the owner of Sunday’s Kitchen, told KAMR Local 4 News he has fond memories of taking his son to the stadium.
“I remember taking my youngest son who’s 19 now, to watch baseball games at the Dilla Villa. We didn’t have a lot to do with Amarillo at the time. There was no HODGETOWN, there was no Amarillo Ice Ranch and all these other things to do downtown, so we’d go to the Dilla Villa off third and enjoy a baseball game,” he said.
Potter County Memorial Stadium was built in 1948, and was home to several minor league baseball clubs.
But it was the Amarillo Dillas, who played in the stadium from 1994 to 2010, that gave the stadium its beloved nickname the “Dilla Villa.”
“They had this weird little armadillo guy who was in, in a uniform and, and he pranced around. But it was also so much fun,” Judge Tanner said.
“One of my craziest memories, I’ll say at the Dilla Villa is when the first time I saw somebody hit a home run, and everybody runs downstairs to go give them cash, but they don’t do that anymore. But it was a cool thing that they used to do with the Dilla Villa,” said Granger.
In 2005, the stadium started showing its age and underwent much need renovations.
But in 2011, the Dillas were evicted because of non-payment on the stadium lease.
Fast forward to this year, and, “it became pretty obvious that the stadium was kind of a first action item that needed to be taken care of,” said Brady Ragland, CEO of the Tri-State Fair and Exposition, who purchased the property last year. “Not only is it a you know a tremendous eyesore for those that visit the fairgrounds but its also becoming really a safety hazard and just needs to be torn down.”
The end of one era in Amarillo baseball, marking the beginning of another.
For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.