Babe Goff, the then 37-year old manager of Stephens Auto Supply in El Dorado, loved baseball and especially the New York Yankees. In 1938, Goff decided that El Dorado needed a baseball park for the local teams to use. He formed a committee to dedicate themselves to the construction of a baseball stadium in El Dorado.
At their first meeting, Goff showed the committee where the stadium could be built, It was east of Griffith Street where McDonald Stadium is now located. The Missouri Pacific Railroad owned the land. Goff persuaded them to deed the land over to the City of El Dorado. He traveled to the federal building in Wichita and convinced the Works Progress Administration (Created by order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) that they should build a concrete baseball stadium in El Dorado.
Construction on the ballpark began. Skelly an El Reco employees worked on their days off. Townspeople worked in there spare time. Lumber from the local lumberyards was purchased at cost. Jake Hess an his son J.J., local carpenters, headed up the project of building locker rooms, restrooms, benches and installing the fence around the field.
After persuasion by Goff, Cities Service donated steel oil derricks for light poles. Chaney Brown's men moved the derricks from Oil Hill and installed them. KG&E furnished the lights and bulbs at cost. Money was donated by independent oil operators, banks and donation cans in the local stores. Bob Bradford donated $1,000. The entire effort was a community project.
On May 23, 1940, the "Baseball Plant" was dedicated. A large crowd was in attendance to witness a baseball doubleheader. Stephens Auto Supply vs. Augusta ended in a 3-3 tie. Wichita Stearmen Aviators won a hard fought game, 10-8 over the Skelly Oilers in the nightcap.
Many thousand of players and fans have enjoyed the use of the "Baseball Plant", later renamed Central Park Stadium and then to it's present name, McDonald Stadium. All this was made possible by the vision and determination of Babe Goff.
Mr. Goff moved away shortly after the stadium was completed. No one knows how many times returned to observe and admire his creation before his death in 1978.