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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The St. Louis Cardinals like to keep their farmhands close to Busch Stadium, and their Double-A affiliate is located just 212 miles away in Springfield, Missouri. The Springfield Cardinals home nest can be found at Hammons Field, a 10,500-seat stadium located in the Jordan Valley Park development in midtown Springfield. The field is named for local businessman John Q. Hammons, who self-funded the stadium and took the lead in securing the transfer of the AA franchise from El Paso, Texas to Springfield. Since 2004, Hammons Field has served as the home for the Springfield Cardinals, as well as the Missouri State University Bears.
The stadium is built in a three-tier format, with the majority of the seating found in the level below the 360-degree concourse circling the stadium. The main seating bowl consists of 7,986 stadium seats, with berm seating in the outfield large enough to accommodate 2,500 more baseball fans. The second tier of the stadium forms the luxury suite level of the facility. There are 25 luxury boxes on this level, along with the VIP lounge and an executive kitchen. The third tier includes three penthouse suites and the press box.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The Springfield Cardinals have been very innovative when it comes to their concession offerings. First of all, persons willing to shell out $28 for a ticket are entitled to seating in the suite level in a section known as the Redbird Roost. In addition to a great view of the field and a roof covering your head, these patrons are entitled to an all-you-can-eat experience at the concession area servicing this seating area. Another unique service delivery method at Hammons Field saves you a trip to the concession line. Each seat provides the phone number for the in-stadium Domino's location. You simply call in your order and seat location, and the pizza and drinks are delivered directly to your seat.
Each season, the Cardinals add some unique concession items to their menu. These include the Hammons Hoagie (half-pound hoagie with sauerkraut for $6.50), the Donut Burger (one-third pound burger with bacon and cheese served on a grilled donut bun for $9.75), and finally, the Hog Tied Dog (a hot dog wrapped in bacon and slathered with nacho cheese for $6.75). For those of you who prefer more classic baseball food, there are hot dogs ($2.75), barbecue sandwiches ($5.25), nachos ($5.25), large popcorn ($4.75), peanuts ($2), medium sodas ($4), and bottled water ($3), Draft beers ($6.25) and O'Doul's ($3.25) are available.
It is apparent before you ever enter the facility that no expense was spared in making this a first-class facility for both the players and the fans. The team has constructed two outlying buildings to support the team, including the team operations center and a full indoor training facility as a safeguard for the often-unpredictable Missouri weather in the spring months. The stadium structure also includes five party decks, six concession stands and a team store.
The on-field features include a natural turf field and field dimensions of 315 to left field, 330 to right field, 365 to the power alleys and 400 to straight away center. The bullpens are located behind the outfield wall, which allows for more playable balls in foul territory. Towering over the field is a 66-foot-tall scoreboard/Jumbotron, which has the capability not only to cover the local game, but also update patrons via the video board on other games in the Texas League and National League.
The architecture of the stadium features a turn-of-the-century look, featuring open steel beams with lots of ornamental latticework.
Hammons Field is located in midtown Springfield, in the shadow of Hammons Tower, the tallest building in town and home to the builder of the stadium. The field is also adjacent to Jordan Valley Park, which includes an amphitheater, an arts center and a seasonal ice skating rink.
Hotels within walking distance of the baseball park include the Holiday Inn Express, the University Plaza Hotel and the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven. Popular restaurants in the area include Ebbets Field, Grad School and the Springfield Brewing Company.
Missouri has long been seen as one of the most baseball-savvy states in the country, with both the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals taking part in recent World Series. As opposed to red/blue states in a political sense, Missouri divides itself along Cardinal Red/Royal Blue lines. The Springfield Cardinals rank very highly in attendance for not only the Texas League, but Minor League Baseball in general. In addition, Springfield draws fans from the two Texas League rivals from Arkansas, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and the Arkansas Travelers. The locals also turn out to see the St. Louis Cardinals of the future. Major leaguers who have passed through Springfield on their way to Busch Stadium are Mark Worrell, Tony Cruz, Tyler Greene, Matt Carpenter and Michael Wacha.
Access to Hammons Field is very easy via I-44 or Highway 60. Either way, you would take the Chestnut Expressway exit and proceed to National. You would then turn right on Trafficway until you reach the stadium. Once at the stadium, the access is excellent, as there are multiple entry gates, and the concourses are wide enough to avoid bottlenecks. The concession stands feature an open view to the field, so you should not miss any action on the field.
A night out at Hammons Field can be rather pricey. There are a wide variety of ticket options available for Cardinal games: Champions Club ($48), Redbird Roost ($28), Diamond Box ($16), Dugout Box ($13), Field Box ($10) and General Admission /Berm ($7). Hammons Field does not maintain its own parking lot. Parking is available at the adjoining Jordan Valley Park Parking Garage at a cost of $7.00. However, each of the hotels listed in the Neighborhood section are within walking distance of the field, so you can save on this item by staying nearby. Hotel prices in the immediate area of the park range in price from $113- $170 per night. While the concessions offer great variety and innovation, they are overpriced in comparison with other AA stadiums.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is located in Springfield. Among the Missouri baseball elite enshrined in the Hall of Fame are Stan Musial, "Cool Papa" Bell, George Brett, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson, Satchel Paige, Whitey Herzog, Red Schoendienst, Jack Buck and Bob Costas.
Hammons Field has a long tradition of having team members available on the plaza prior to the game to meet the fans and sign autographs.
The Redbird Roost is a unique seating and dining option.
Member Review by j-macj on Jul 01, 2012
Baseball in Springfield, Missouri can be looked at in two very distinct periods. In 1905, professional baseball arrived in the form of the Highlanders, who became the Jobbers, who became the Midgets, who became the Merchants. Baseball didn’t really seem to take and it wasn’t long before Springfield was without a team.
Then came Branch Rickey who is credited with developing the farm system as we know it today. In 1932 he was the General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and as part of his development of a farm system he bought a team, moved it to Springfield and called them the Cardinals. From 1932 to 1946 the Springfield Cardinals won 5 Western Association Titles and put players such as Stan Musial, ‘Dizzy’ Dean and a number of the Gashouse Gang on the Springfield diamond.
In an ironic change, Springfield fielded another team in 1947, the Springfield Cubs affiliated with none other than the Chicago Cubs who have been perennial rivals of the St.Louis Cardinals. Local baseball then suffered a long drought until 1999. At that time the independent Frontier League brought the Springfield/Ozark Mountain Ducks to beautiful Price Cutter Park in Ozark, MO just 6 miles south of Springfield. Fans loved the Ducks and the stadium and the Ducks had a great 5 year run, but proved no match for the opening of Hammons Field.
Hammons Field was built just east of the downtown in the Jordan Valley area. Local businessman John Q. Hammons, whose name graces many cultural, civic and university buildings completely funded the construction of the field which bears his name. Missouri State's JQH Arena is also named for Hammons. The acquisition of a team that would be affiliated with the area’s beloved Cardinals cinched the deal. The Springfield Cardinals, the baby birds, became the Double-A, Texas League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
In one of those sweet deals that we mere mortals can only hope to understand, Hammons Field also became the home of the Missouri State University Bears baseball program, a relationship which benefits all and provides the stadium with additional use. The stadium has also hosted the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Tournament three times between 2004 and 2012, with many more future opportunities to see this great college baseball event sure to come.
Brand new and beautiful, Hammons Field has not yet had time to acquire any historical significance and that is probably something that a future generation will comment on. But as a well appointed stadium, it boasts 28 luxury box suites including one specifically for Mr. Hammons. I only know that because I read it somewhere, I’ve never been invited!
Hammons Field also has one of the largest electronic scoreboards in the country, plus the unique feature of its two baseball specific outbuildings. The larger of the two is a fully furnished indoor practice facility, astroturfed, batting cages and a partial infield for practicing plays. The facility is also used off season for various community events. The smaller building houses the offices, two team clubhouses and a cardio workout facility.
Hammons Field has been called the centerpiece of Springfield’s midtown development project. The Field shares a beautiful area with Jordan Valley Park, The Creamery Arts Center, Jordan Valley Commons, the Springfield Expo Center and the Jordan Valley ice arena. It should be a baseball stadium and area to be shared with generations to come. It was fortuitous that a large parcel of land was available near downtown and the field has none of the quirks of inner city parks. Hammons Field is a delight to the eye and to the game.
And although he never played for the Cardinals I have read that Babe Ruth played part of a season in Springfield. Even with the wonder of the internet I could not confirm this. If you have information I’d love to hear more about that.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on May 02, 2016
Toasted Ravioli is all that anyone needs at a sporting event. It's even $1 for kids on Monday. Lots of on-field promotions during inning breaks and a nice design make it a pleasure to visit here. It was kids day and I was surrounded by the third graders from Bowerman, who pestered the players for balls, and were a lot of fun to talk to. Free parking on nearby streets (Walnut seems the best bet) and no problem getting around the ballpark. The manual scoreboard with St. Louis WS pennants is cool.
1232 E Trafficway St
Springfield, MO 65802
1027 E Walnut St
Springfield, MO 65806
434 S Jefferson Ave
Springfield, MO 65806
333 John Q. Hammons Pkwy
Springfield, MO 65806
1117 E St Louis St
Springfield, MO 65806
203 S Glenstone Ave
Springfield, MO 65802