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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

H.P. Hunnicutt Field - Princeton WhistlePigs


Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

H.P. Hunnicutt Field 150 Old Bluefield Rd Princeton, WV 24740

Year Opened: 1988 Capacity: 1,700

 

Along the Appalachian League Trail: Princeton

Princeton, West Virginia has the honor of being the smallest town in America with a minor league baseball team. The town is home to 6,400 residents and the Princeton Rays of the Appalachian League. The county school board- owned Hunnicutt Field serves as the home field for the Rays as well as Princeton High School baseball. The 1,700-seat stadium opened in 1988 and was renovated in 1999.

Hunnicutt Field offers a covered grandstand with chair back seating in the area behind home plate. The remaining seating at the stadium consists of metal bleachers. All seating is elevated above the field level, providing fans with an excellent view of the action.

Food & Beverage 3

Hunnicutt Field has a single concession stand located on the concourse behind the grandstand. It sells a wide variety of foods, including hot dogs ($2), hamburgers ($4), spicy chicken sandwiches ($4), corn dogs ($2), wiener kraut ($3), funnel cakes ($4), cheese nachos ($3), and walking tacos ($3).

Drinks include Pepsi brand sodas ($3), bottled water ($2) and Gatorade ($3). Beer cannot be served at Hunnicutt Field as the stadium is owned by the school board.

Atmosphere 2

The atmosphere at Rays games is very similar to that of a high school game. It is played in a stadium that doubles as the high school baseball field and features players that are only 1-2 years removed from high school themselves. Many of the fans in the bleachers are parents or host parents to the players. Almost all the players on the team are known by their first names. The team’s top rival comes from a town (Bluefield, WV) located just a 10-minute drive from Hunnicutt Field.


Neighborhood 3

Hunnicutt Field is in downtown Princeton, just two red lights west of the I-77 exit for Princeton. The immediate neighborhood around the park consists of the high school, several convenience stores and three fast food restaurants.

Princeton owes its existence to the railroad, as trains carrying the coal from the area mines were routed through the town. So, it is not surprising that one of Princeton’s main attractions is the Princeton Railroad Museum housed in the beautiful old railroad depot. A second attraction is the McNutt House, the lone surviving house in the town from the Civil War.

Most of the restaurants in town are of the fast food variety. Two sit-down favorites are Angelo’s Pizzeria and A Taste of Memphis BBQ restaurant. There are numerous hotels located at the Princeton exit off I-77, with the Quality Inn and the Days Inn having the nicest rooms and best rates.

Fans 3

The two Appalachian League representatives in West Virginia compete every season for the Mercer Cup. It is given to the team with the best record in games between the two teams. Princeton and Bluefield both display a lot of civic pride in this friendly competition, and there are large turnouts for these games. Over the years, Princeton and Bluefield are usually in the thick of the pennant race for the Applachian League title. This fills the stands on a regular basis as the season comes to a close.

Leading the cheers for the Rays fans is Roscoe the Rooster, the team’s mascot. (Why he is not Ray the Rooster is beyond us).

Access 5

Hunnicutt Field is easily reached via I-77.Take the Princeton exit (Rte.9) off I-77.Continue on Rte.460 West to the Downtown Princeton exit. Turn right on Ingleside, then left at Tiger Drive.Continue past Princeton Primary School and Princeton High School. Hunnicutt Field will be just past the high school on your right.Parking is free in the lot beyond the outfield wall.


Return on Investment 4

This Princeton is much more affordable than the one in New Jersey. Ticket prices are $8 for reserved seats and $6 for general admission. The concession stand offers a good variety of items at very reasonable prices. Parking is free and area hotels cost less than $75 per night. The Rays and the Bluefield Jays (12 miles apart) often stagger their game times, allowing you to get a double header in during your visit to West Virginia.


Extras 2

Despite being a small town, Princeton is the hometown to some very famous actors and actresses. They include Jennifer Garner, Sam Elliott and Bob “Gilligan” Denver.

Ironically the only place to watch the game at field level is from the picnic area located underneath the bleachers and directly behind home plate.


Final Thoughts

The town of Princeton, West Virginia has the distinct honor of being the smallest town in America with a minor league baseball team. The Princeton Rays are the main draw in town each summer and the locals are proud to call them their own. The rivalry with nearby Bluefield, West Virginia for the Mercer Cup each season brings extra excitement to the games.




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