Samford Stadium-Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park (map it)
351 South Donahue Dr
Auburn, AL 36849
Year Opened: 1950
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Bob Waldrop, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Auburn University has been playing baseball since 1933, and over the course of those 80-plus years, the Tigers have featured some of the sport’s greatest players. Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas & Tim Hudson are the three most recognizable alumni who have donned the uniform and each of them took the field at beautiful Samford Stadium-Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park – known in most circles simply as Plainsman Park – which has served as the home for Tiger baseball for 60-plus years.
Sitting in the shadows of mammoth Jordan-Hare Stadium, Plainsman Park is part of an impressive athletic complex that also includes Auburn Arena, home of Tiger hoops, as well as a brand new student recreation center.
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 food offerings at Plainsman Park will rival those of many minor league stadiums across the country, and although they lean toward the high side, the prices aren't outrageous. The most substantial offerings are at the Home Plate stand, and your best values will be one of several combo offerings, which include the entrée', chips and a drink. Hot dog combos are available for $9, while cheeseburger, bratwurst, grilled chicken or barbecue sandwich combos are $10. A hot dog, pretzel, nachos or cotton candy will set you back $4, while seeds and candy run $3. All beverages are Coke products, with bottled water and a regular soda costing $4. A larger souvenir soda is available for $6.
TIP: At each home game, one inning between the second and seventh is designated for fans to receive $1 regular sodas. The specific inning varies and is announced during the game, so if you're paying attention, you can take advantage of some great deals on beverages and save some money to enjoy other offerings.
If you attend a weekend game, check out Southern Delights, located just inside the main entrance on the plaza. This is an outdoor grill with cook-to-order offerings, which vary depending on the day. Fridays are Southern Fried Chicken Breast with spicy pepper jelly; Saturday offers a Catfish Po Boy with remoulade; Sunday features a pot roast sandwich on a crusty roll with gravy. Each costs $8 and comes with fresh fried potato chips.
Plainsman Park has undergone several renovations since its opening, with the largest occurring 15 years ago to incorporate features of several famous major league stadiums. The most obvious of these is Auburn's version of Fenway Park's "Green Monster" in left field. Features of Wrigley Field and Camden Yards were also incorporated into the design. The fences are asymmetrical, with left field being only 315 feet from home plate but jutting out to 385 feet in left center and swinging all the way to right center, where it shortens to 361 feet and then 331 feet down the right field line. Even the fence heights vary, with the aforementioned left field wall towering at 30 feet, sloping to 8 feet around to right center, where the wall is only 4 feet in front of the bullpen - then rising to 8 feet down the right field foul line. In 2010, padding was added to the outfield walls which formed the Auburn Wall of Fame, featuring images of four of the greatest players in the program's history - Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, Tim Hudson and Gregg Olson.
One of the best features of the park is the giant scoreboard in left center. Two brick columns rise from behind the wall and support a scoreboard that will remind you of the one in Wrigley Field or Fenway Park in terms of color, though it contains digital numbers and a state-of-the-art video board on the right side. A large old-school clock (the kind with two hands) rests at the top.
Plainsman Park seats just over 4,000 fans, with 3,227 green chairback seats that provide ample room for most fans. The proximity to the field provides an intimate setting and offers fans a chance to feel like they are part of the action. One of the unique features of the park is the multi-level terrace area down the left field line. Here, fans can enjoy one of the several chaise lounges provided, sit at one of the available picnic tables or bring their own chairs and/or blankets to carve out their own space. Water coolers are provided and are much appreciated on warm spring days.
One interesting 'feature' of Plainsman Park is actually located down the left field line, just outside its borders. A chain link fence demarks the entrance to the park, yet also offers fans a chance to bring their chairs, grills, pets, kids and other assorted paraphernalia and get a very good view of the action taking place on the field - all for free. The parking deck located directly outside the park allows fans to perch on the rooftop and get a birds-eye view of the game without actually having to enter. Not surprisingly, there were numerous fans taking advantage of each at the game I attended.
Plainsman Park sits almost in the center of Auburn's beautiful campus, which oozes southern charm and is easily walkable before or after a game. Aside from the athletic landmarks, one of the most recognizable buildings on campus is beautiful Samford Hall (see photo gallery), which has been the site for countless family reunions, marriage proposals, graduation photos and any other special occasion requiring a beautiful backdrop.
At the corner of Magnolia Avenue and College Street sits the famous Toomer's Drugs store, which features some of the best lemonade you'll ever taste. The store inspired the even more famous "Toomer's Corner" moniker, which serves as the gathering place for Auburn students and fans to celebrate significant athletic victories by tossing thousands of rolls of toilet paper across the light posts and into the two huge oak trees located directly across from the drug store. Unfortunately, if you never got to see those famous trees in the past, you never will, as they were poisoned in 2010 and have subsequently been removed after they were unable to recover. Plans are in the works to plant new trees for future generations of Auburn fans to carry on the tradition. Along College Street, from about Glenn Avenue to Samford Avenue, you'll find an area of unique restaurants, shops and bars that are popular before and after athletic events.
Like most SEC institutions, Auburn is considered a "football" school, with a rabid fan base that routinely packs adjacent Jordan Hare Stadium on fall afternoons. Baseball and (outside of Lexington) basketball are usually seen as ways to occupy fans' time between football season, spring football and national signing day. As with any fan base, however, there is usually a correlation between the quality of the product on the field and the enthusiasm in the stands. Despite their overall success over the years, the baseball program has recently fallen on somewhat hard times, at least by their lofty standards. The game I attended featured a traditional powerful divisional opponent (Mississippi State) and glorious 80-degree weather on a Sunday afternoon and although the attendance was good, there wasn't much energy, with many fans seemingly enjoying the weather more than the game.
Auburn University gets its name from and sits directly in the middle of a quaint town located 45 miles northeast of Montgomery, 100 miles southwest of Atlanta and 125 miles southeast of Birmingham. If approaching north or south off of I-85, take Exit 51 (College Street) into Auburn. Travel about two miles and turn left onto South Donahue Drive. Plainsman Park is about a mile down on your right. From Birmingham, travel south on US 280 and turn right on to Alabama 147 (College Street). Travel approximately four miles and you will begin to come into downtown Auburn. You'll turn right onto Magnolia Avenue just past Toomer's Drugs and drive about half a mile before taking a left on South Donahue. You'll find Plainsman Park about a half mile down on your left. If you get lost, fear not - just look for the towering lights and upper decks of Jordan-Hare Stadium, which sits directly across the street from Plainsman Park.
Parking is free (a nice touch at any SEC event), and even though Auburn University is famous for its lack of available parking spaces, you usually will not have a problem. The most convenient parking is either directly across the street at the old Beard-Eaves Coliseum or in the parking deck of Plainsman Park itself. For heavily-attended games, you can also park in the Auburn Arena lot (after 3pm on weekdays), with the exception of the rare overlap with a men's basketball game. According to the university's website, fans should park in "marked, legal spaces."
The cost to attend a game at Plainsman Park is quite reasonable and can actually be less expensive than a first-run movie. Tickets are $8, regardless of the opponent, and are reserved. This can be somewhat confusing, however, as there were five people in our party (including an Auburn student who was free). The window agent said they did not have four together so we were required to sit in the terrace down the left field line - which, as it turns out, was by far the best option - yet, when we entered the park there were obviously hundreds of empty seats, including several blocks that would have appeared to accommodate our party.
The food prices aren't cheap, but they aren't exorbitant either, and as always, you can control what you purchase. The aforementioned "$1 Coke inning" is a very nice touch and can help to reduce costs, especially for families. Throw in the free parking, and attending a game at beautiful Plainsman Park can be very affordable and a great way to spend a spring afternoon.
One negative is the $1 charged for pre-printed scorecards. This is the only college venue I've attended where these are not offered for free, and although the cost isn't prohibitive, many fans, especially older ones, enjoy keeping score, and charging for these seems a bit out of line.
Several extra points are awarded for the Auburn baseball experience:
A point is awarded for the closed circuit TVs located in the concession areas, which allow fans to keep up with all of the on-field action while waiting in line.
A point is given for the board in the concourse which lists both teams' starting lineups and the starting pitchers (with W/L and ERA), as well as the conference standings for both divisions. This is a very nice touch, as baseball, more than any other sport, is historically driven by statistics.
One goes for the $1 Coke special, which is a fantastic way for families to save money on concessions.
A final point goes for paying homage to some of the great players who built the program by displaying their name, number and likeness along the outfield walls.
In the SEC, bigger is usually considered better. And while there are certainly larger baseball stadiums in the conference - LSU's Alex Box Stadium and Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field come to mind - it is hard to imagine a more unique setting that what you will get at Plainsman Park. The unique design, affordability, setting and family friendly environment add up to a terrific fan experience and will make you glad you included Plainsman Park in your sports itinerary.
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
There are no local entertainment entries. Help us build with your expertise!
There are no local lodging entries. Help us build with your expertise!