- Alex Mailes
Joe Becker Stadium - Joplin Outlaws
Photos by Alex Mailes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57
Joe Becker Stadium 300 S High Ave Joplin, MO 64801
Year Opened: 1913 Capacity: 4,200
Joe Becker Stadium in Joplin, Mo is the current home of the Joplin Outlaws, a member of the summer M.I.N.K baseball league, which is a wooden bat collegiate league. It was originally built in 1913 and has been home to several teams, most notably the Joplin Miners, who were the stadium’s first tenants. Hall of famers Whitey Herzog and Mickey Mantle both played for the Miners while they were at Joe Becker, giving the park a small place in baseball history.
After the Miners disbanded in 1954, the park was used by the MSSU Lions until 2014 when the El Paso Diablos decided to move to the stadium in exchange for park renovations and became the Joplin Blasters. The Blasters played two years at Joe Becker before disbanding in 2016. The Outlaws began playing the next year.
The Outlaws get their name from Joplin’s checkered past. Notorious robbers Bonnie and Clyde spent several weeks living out of a garage on Oak Ridge Drive and Jesse James was rumored to have had a hideout somewhere in town. All this gives the stadium a unique feel that isn’t seen in other ballparks and makes the trip to Joe Becker a memorable one.
Food & Beverage 4
The offerings are about what you would expect from a stadium this size. The Outlaw’s concession stand serves freshly grilled hamburgers ($4) and hotdogs ($3) along with Cici’s Pizza at $2 a slice. They also sell the typical candy, nachos, chips, popcorn, and pickles all for $3 or less.
Beverages are also available, with nonalcoholic options including Pepsi products, bottled water and sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade and Body Armor), each being sold for $1.50. Alcohol is not sold or allowed on stadium grounds.
Overall, the concessions have all the ballpark staples that baseball fans expect and what they offer is reasonably priced compared to other stadiums.
The stadium is built like most other ballparks, with the ticket booth and entrance centered behind home plate. There are concession stands and restrooms located down both the left and right field lines underneath both major seating bowls.
The seating areas stretching from Homeplate to 1st and 3rd plate are lined with black, non-foldable, plastic chairs with no cupholders. Bleachers comprise the rest of the seating that extends into the outfield. The seats offer plenty of legroom, but don’t offer much else in terms of comfort. The smaller capacity and seating
arrangements means that there isn’t a bad seat in the entire stadium. You can get a good look at the action no matter where you’re situated.
A simple scoreboard is located on the edge of the outfield down the right-field line. It tallies runs per inning, outs, balls, strikes, hits and errors.
Games or contests are played every couple of innings and consist of either trivia questions, kids races, or luck-based games like the big dice roll. They are frequent but don’t get in the way of the game and add some excitement between innings. Music is played between at-bats but not at any other time, keeping the focus on the game.
The Park really nails the feeling of small-town baseball, from the muddy dirt warning track and wooden outfield fence to the small concrete dugouts and minor league-like bleachers. If you live in or around the area it is certainly worth a visit.
The stadium is in the northern part of the city in a residential area which is sandwiched between two major business districts. There are plenty of restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues located within two miles of the park. A few local places worth mentioning are Wilders Steakhouse, Fred and Red’s Chili, and Club 609. Several bars are located on Main Street if you want to grab a quick drink after the game.
If you’re looking for something strange, you could visit the Joplin Spook Light, a mysterious orb of light that can be seen late at night and has been a local legend for more than a century and defies any scientific explanation. For those wanting something less eerie, the local Range Line Golf Course offers a well maintained 9-hole course along with minigolf, both for $8 per round.
The Hotel District is located 3 miles from the park on the southside of Joplin with Econolodge and Best Western being the most economical options.
The Outlaws get about 400 fans per game. Most of the fans are who you would expect at a game of this level; mostly the players’ host families, local sponsors, and baseball diehards. They are a mostly quiet bunch, not interjecting at close calls and at-bats which makes it easier to concentrate on the game.
Outlaws fans are also a tidy lot, as the stadium was fairly clean after the game. Regular attendees are uniquely dedicated to the team and make attending a game feel special.
Joplin is in Southwest Missouri and is only a two-hour drive from Kansas City. The Park isn’t challenging to reach, with it being located 3 miles from the nearest interstate exit off I-44 and located in a residential area.
The Joplin Regional Airport is serviced by United Airlines with flights to and from Denver and Houston. While there is no public transport that takes you directly to the park, the local Sunshine Trolley has a stop only three blocks away.
Return on Investment 5
Ticket prices are $5 for individual tickets and kids under 5 get in for free. With season passes costing of $50 and M.I.N.K league all access passes running at $150 along with free stadium parking makes an Outlaws game an affordable experience relative to other teams.
The Outlaws run several different nightly promotions, like free t-shirts, lottery tickets and 50 cent hot dog nights. Just make sure you’re early to get them while they last. They also have free tacos if a player hits a homerun and a 50/50 lottery where you can buy a “wingspan” worth of tickets for $10.
Joe Becker Stadium offers the feeling of small-town baseball at a high level for an affordable price. There are plenty promotions and games for fans to keep things exciting and Joplin has plenty to offer if you find yourself bored after the game. If you live nearby or are traveling through, a visit to Joe Becker Stadium is certainly worth it.