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  • James Hilchen

Eck Stadium - Wichita State Shockers

Photos by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Eck Stadium 4101 E 21st St N Wichita, KS 67208

Year Opened: 1978

Capacity: 7,851

The Eck

Eck Stadium is home to the Wichita State Shockers of the American Athletic Conference. The stadium is named after Rusty Eck, a local car dealer and early supporter of the baseball program. A ballpark was built on this site in 1978 and provided a whopping 322 seats. That ballpark is in no way representative of what the ballpark has become.

The current ballpark opened in 1985 and has undergone numerous renovations since then. Prior to the 2020 season, state of the art artificial turf was installed, which is a big help in the early parts of the season when snow is more prevalent. Previous to that, sky boxes, a press box, and Coleman Hill (a berm-like area beyond the outfield wall) were added, which gave both media and fans alike, the ability to watch the game in a more comfortable atmosphere.

“The Eck” has hosted numerous NCAA Midwest Regional tournaments over the years as well as 26 Missouri Valley tournaments, with its biggest attendance coming on June 9, 2007 when 8.153 fans turned out for a Shockers game against UC Irvine.

Food & Beverage 4

Eck offers a little more than your typical college baseball park. A pulled pork sandwich ($7.50) or Memphis nachos (BBQ nachos $10) lead off your options. You can buy a slice of pizza ($4.50) or the whole pie ($22.50). All the typical fare such as hot dogs, brats, chicken strips, cheeseburgers, etc range from $4.50 to $8. Additionally, nachos, popcorn, fries, pretzels, candy, and chips will run $3-$6.

Coke is the soda choice ($4-$5.50) with water, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate also available. As an added bonus on those particularly cold days, you can add Bailey’s or Butterscotch schnapps to your hot chocolate. Beer and wine ($8-$9.50) is also an option.

Atmosphere 5

This is where Eck shines. Upon arrival, it is apparent that this isn’t your typical college baseball stadium. From the outside, the grandstands look enormous. On the outside of the stadium behind home plate is Bledsoe Plaza. Be sure and take a look around even if you choose to go in through a different entrance. The plaza includes numerous statues and plaques and provides a great opportunity for fans to learn about Shocker baseball history and some of the players who played here.

Inside the stadium, seating runs down both lines, with the majority of seating running from the third base dugout over to the right field line. Most of the seats are chairbacks although there are some bleachers on the first base side above the concourse.

The field itself is aesthetically pleasing with the synthetic turf always looking in very good condition. The large video board sits beyond the left field wall and its size makes it easy for anyone in the ballpark to see, regardless of where you are sitting.

Coleman Hill sits beyond the right field wall. This is a tremendous location to watch a game. An added bonus out here, you can bring in your own food and drinks, and even a grill if you feel the urge (provided it isn’t a particularly windy day). Alcohol is not permitted from the outside, however, and must be purchased inside the ballpark.

Neighborhood 3

The surrounding area is largely college campus and residential areas. As such, there is very little within walking distance with regard to food and drinks. If you are a fan of Mexican food, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is just East of the ballpark about ¼ of a mile. Fuzzy’s serves up decent tacos and burritos along with beer and other drinks. Next to Fuzzy’s is the Social Tap Drinkery. At the Social Tap, you can choose from 52 different tap beers along with all your typical bar fare, including numerous types of pizza and burgers.

If you are staying in the area, Hyatt Place Wichita is within walking distance. There are also numerous other lodging options back near the freeways in and out of Wichita.

For other entertainment in town, Wichita has a rich history in air flight. As such, a trip to the Kansas Aviation Museum is highly recommended. Another good option for sports fans is a trip to see the Wichita Wind Surge play at Riverfront Stadium. Opened in 2021, Riverfront is a great place to watch a ballgame.

Fans 4

Wichita State has a rich baseball tradition and this isn’t lost on the fans. In 2019, Eck Stadium was voted amongst the top 16 college ballparks in America by fan vote according to the NCAA. Barring poor weather, fan turnout is generally very good, with a high percentage of fans decked out in their Shocker gear. They are also very much into the games and cheer loudly when their team makes a great play or scores a run.

Access 4

Eck Stadium is located on E 21st St, East of I-135 and on the Wichita State campus near the other school sporting venues, including Charles Koch Arena.

There are four entrances available at various locations around the park. Once inside, the concourses are wide and the restrooms are generally sufficient for the crowd size.

Return on Investment 4

Parking at “The Eck” is free. Most tickets range from $8-$12 with the grandstand $8, upper box $10, and field box $12. There are no bad seats, although on particularly hot and sunny days, it would be best to avoid the bleachers.

With food and drink prices being the norm for college sports anywhere, it’s hard to argue that you get a really good bang for your buck when attending a game here.

Extras 4

Bledsoe Plaza is a really nice touch and does a great job of celebrating the history of the team.

Under the press box and around the skyboxes, you can see the success of the team with regard to postseason appearances, conference titles, etc.

Although I didn’t watch the game from Coleman Hill, it seems like a fun spot to gather with friends to take in the game and is a nice touch.

Directly across the street from the right field corner is the original Pizza Hut. The restaurant is still open on occasion and has also been turned into a museum.

Final Thoughts

Wichita State has a rich baseball history. Eck Stadium not only does a great job of celebrating that history but is also a great and comfortable ballpark for fans to watch a baseball game. This is clearly one of the better ballparks in this region of the country. Don’t miss out if you find yourself in the area.

Follow my sports journeys on Twitter and Instagram: @stadiumjwriter

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