MLB Draft League Spotlight: State College Spikes

Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Medlar FieldTEAM: State College Spikes
LOCATION: University Park, PA
VENUE: Medlar Field at Lubrano Park

State College SpikesNestled in Happy Valley right next to Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, future big leaguers, college stars, high school state champions and many youth players have stepped on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, and that will continue with the State College Spikes being a founding member of the MLB Draft League.

“Thanks to the Major League Baseball Draft League, State College Spikes fans can see high-quality baseball while still experiencing the fun, affordable family entertainment they have come to know and love at a Spikes game,” General Manager Scott Walker said.

That high-quality experience comes at a state-of-the-art venue that hosts the Spikes and Penn State baseball. Built in 2006, Medlar Field became the first LEED-certified stadium in the world. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, meaning Medlar Field meets the highest green building and performance standards. The benefits include a reduction in waste sent to landfills, water and energy conservation, lower operating costs, and much more. The environmental consciousness is fitting, given the beautiful backdrop Happy Valley provides when taking in a game.

Between home games for the Spikes and Nittany Lions, being open to the public on Penn State football Saturdays, hosting the PIAA baseball state championships and other special events like charity fundraisers and corporate events, Medlar Field had more than 280,000 fans come through its gates in 2019.

The Spikes are very active in the community and charity, raising more than $500,000 for dozens of organizations in 2019, though their biggest impact arguably was the bond with Josiah Viera. Born with Hutchinson-Guilford progeria, a rapid-aging condition, he connected with the organization in 2011. In 2013, he visited the Spikes as a Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Kid and formed a bond with the team, especially pitcher Mitch Harris. Their time together that evening was so special, Josiah couldn’t wait to return to State College and did so from the next homestand on until he was a part of the club. He had his own jersey and clubhouse locker. During the playoffs that year, he took the field with the rest of the team, introduced as a bench coach. From then on, he was a part of the community. He passed away in 2018, but his legacy lives on. His No. 10 jersey is the only one retired and the Josiah Viera Perseverance Award is presented annually.  

The Spikes’ first season was 2006 as an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. That team had nine future big leaguers. In 2007, affiliation switched to the Pittsburgh Pirates, before returning to the Cardinals in 2013. They were NYPL champions twice (2014, 2016) and have seen a total of 62 players go on to play in the major leagues.

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