In June of 2008, Dan Haren Sr., along with his son, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Danny Haren, approached the D-Backs with the concept of creating a baseball stadium specifically designed for children with special needs.
The Diamondbacks Foundation had previously supported 29 baseball fields throughout Arizona, but never a stand-alone special needs baseball facility.
Dan, along with Miracle League of Arizona Board President Frank Udvare, set out to create a “miracle” for children with special needs. The Scottsdale Unified School District was simultaneously approached regarding possible land/site locations that might be available. The SUSD was agreeable to such a concept and donated the land, leased for 20 years, at the recently-closed Cheyenne Elementary School located at Frank Lloyd Wright and East Via Linda in Northeast Scottsdale.
The newly-named Miracle League of Arizona developed its Board of Directors and soon received a $380,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Construction began, but more funding was needed to finish the project.
A major capital campaign was established which ultimately raised $1.83 million and led to the grand opening of the Dan Haren Jr. Field at Miracle League of Arizona Stadium on March 11, 2011.
Dan Haren Jr., Miracle Leaguer Nicky Thau and Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew at grand opening ceremonies of the Dan Haren Jr. Field at Miracle League of Arizona Stadium
The Miracle League of Arizona is unique in that it is more than just a field. The Miracle League of Arizona is incredibly unique in that the entire facility was built and created with individuals with special needs and their families in mind. It has a specially designed rubberized turf with painted-on bases so that there is easy maneuverability for those in wheelchairs, walkers, or even someone with an uneven gait. Beyond that, it also features accessible bathrooms, caregiver rooms with showers, spacious and flat dug-out areas, a scoreboard and sound system, and a concession area so that individuals can stay and enjoy a full day of Miracle League baseball.
In February 2013, through a grant from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, MLAZ opened a $280,000 adaptive playground designed for children with special needs. As an addition, a picnic area and a few barbeques were added to accommodate families wishing to stay and enjoy the day before or after their games.
In October of 2013, thanks to a $60,000 grant from Thunderbirds Charities, we opened batting cages for our players, who are now welcome to arrive before their games and take a few warm-up swings.
The Miracle League of Arizona unveiled a spectacular, new video scoreboard at a special ceremony on October 1, 2019 when Miracle Leaguer Drew Boedigheimer and his parents yanked the tarp off in front of friends, family and multiple television crews. The “Boedy Board” was the result of Drew’s extremely unselfish request to Make-A-Wish Arizona, plus the extraordinary generosity of The Scottsdale Charros, Fiesta Bowl Charities, and Scottsdale 20/30 organizations.
Click here to watch the unveiling and hear Drew explaining why he chose this wish.