Tink Larson Field fire

Tink Larson takes pictures of the fire damaged grandstand on April 6. Photo by Pat Christman

WASECA — Authorities suspect the fire that destroyed the historic Tink Larson Field was intentionally set.

The state fire marshal has ruled out other causes of the April 6 fire, including electrical or lightning, Waseca police Capt. Kris Markeson said Monday.

Earlier this month, authorities asked a man seen at the field the night of the fire to come forward, but police have since talked with him and determined he is not a suspect, Markeson said.

The Minnesota Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person believed to be responsible through the Minnesota Arson Reward Project.

The city of Waseca also is offering up to $5,000 through its insurance carrier.

Markeson said the field does not have surveillance footage and stressed the investigation remains ongoing.

"We'll be happy to follow up and investigate any information people do have," he said.

The state fire marshal and Waseca Police Department are asking the public to call the Minnesota Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020 with any information. Callers can remain anonymous.

The city owns the historic field and plans to rebuild the structure, which was built in 1938 and is steeped in baseball history. The cost of rebuilding has been estimated at $1.5 million to $2 million.

City officials expect to receive $300,000 in insurance funds for replacing the field, based on the property's valuation in 2011.

Tink Larson, a legendary baseball coach, was instrumental in saving the field when the city considered demolishing it in the 1970s and has served as its caretaker for almost half a century with his family members by his side.

The city has said it plans to demolish the structure by mid-May and plans to give the public a chance to say goodbye before then. Construction on a new grandstand could begin as early as April 2017 with completion projected for fall 2017.

Larson has said he's optimistic four teams will be able to use the field this summer with portable backstops and seating. 

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