Angelina College Holds Ceremony Renaming Baseball Field
Officials with Angelina College formally announced the renaming of its baseball field to "Poland Field" after late, long-time board members Robert Poland, Sr. and Robert Poland, Jr. Poland, Sr. was on AC's original Board of Trustees at the college's inception, and Poland, Jr. served on the board for nearly 30 years. Poland, Jr., was instrumental in procuring the land currently housing the baseball facility.
According to a press release from Gary Stallard with Angelina College, when AC first began exploring the idea of a new baseball complex, Poland, Jr. was instrumental in ensuring the plans would move forward.
Linda Poland addressed the crowd at a ceremony officially naming the baseball complex. Her late husband Robert Poland, Jr., was a die-hard baseball fan – as are the other members of the family. In fact, grandson Caleb Poland McCusker threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday’s Roadrunner doubleheader.
On Friday, Angelina College officials, Poland family members – many of them donning AC baseball gear – and other well-wishers gathered for a dedication ceremony. Henceforward, the home of the Roadrunner baseball team will be known as “Poland Field” after Poland, Jr. and his father, Robert Poland, Sr., both of whom were long-time AC Board members.
“It’s our Field of Dreams, just like the one in Iowa,” Linda said. “Only now, you don’t walk through the corn to get here. You walk through the trees.
“We have boys in our family playing baseball now, and so many other members of our family love the game. But for most of us, it’s all about the Astros and Angelina College – the ‘A’s’ of baseball.”
Poland, Sr., who passed away in 2013, served on the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce organizing committee to facilitate the formation of the Angelina County Junior College District. He was elected to serve as one of the college's first trustees, and he served on the Board of Trustees from 1966 to 1978.
Poland, Jr. passed away in 2021 after serving as a college trustee from 1994 to 2021. He also served as the chairman of the Board's Long-Range Planning Committee.
Angelina College president Dr. Michael Simon said the father/son duo made an enormous impact on both the community and the college.
“I never met Mr. Poland, Sr., but I had the privilege of getting to know him through his son,” Simon said. “They both loved God, they loved their families, they worked hard, they served their community and their country with honor, and Angelina College was fortunate that both of them chose to serve the college as part of their community service.”
A monument will take its place on the facility’s grounds soon, a testament to both the drive to see the college succeed and the love for the college both men exhibited for so many years.
And, of course, it will serve as a memorial of their love for baseball.
“I heard stories this week about how Chris Todd and his father, along with (AC head baseball coach) Jeff Livin walked around this space before the college even bought it, wanting it to be the new baseball complex,” Linda said. “When Robert, Jr. came out and saw the space, he stopped everybody and let them know we needed this field right here. If they played baseball year-round, I think he’d have been out here every single day.
“He just loved baseball. Jack Sweeney was on the board back then, and he told everyone that the college needed to go ahead and buy the land for the field because Robert was not going to get off of it.”
See The House Behind The Trees On South First Street In Lufkin