Ben Abadie, head coach of Tulane's baseball program in the 1950s, is best known for his "field of dreams" training program.
With the exception of three years when he played professional baseball, Bernard Paul “Ben” Abadie spent the vast majority of his life within five miles of Tulane University, where he had a lengthy and rewarding career as a coach and administrator.
Abadie was born on November 18, 1921, to Edna and Bernard C. Abadie. An outstanding four-sport athlete at Fortier High School in his native New Orleans, Abadie was a highly recruited college baseball prospect. He elected to attend Tulane, where he played baseball from 1947 through 1949 and was a member of the 1948 Southeastern Conference championship team. Upon graduation he was signed by the Boston Braves and spent several years in their minor-league system. While playing winter ball in Venezuela, Abadie was coached by the legendary Rogers Hornsby.
Abadie returned to Tulane to complete his degree in 1950, and again after his retirement from professional baseball in 1951. He served as the director of intramural sports and Favrot Field House, and as an instructor in the physical education program. In his spare time he supervised the concessions at Tulane Stadium for Tulane and New Orleans Saints football games.
From 1955 through 1957 Abadie served as the head coach for the Tulane baseball program, compiling a record of twenty-six wins and thirty-two losses. He returned to the helm for three more seasons from 1964 through 1966, this time posting a record of forty-four wins and thirty losses. His 1966 Green Wave team set a school record of fifteen consecutive wins.
However, it was for his “field of dreams” program that Abadie is most remembered. In 1961 several of his former players asked him to continue coaching them after graduation. For more than fifty years Abadie would hit fungoes and conduct skill drills with former players of all ages. From informal games and workouts to an active schedule in the Commercial Athletic League, the program is still active but is now limited to Saturday morning workouts and the occasional intrasquad game.
Abadie was inducted into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame (1996) and the Diamond Club of New Orleans Hall of Fame (1998).
He died on August 19, 2011, at the age of eighty-nine.