McBride Stadium - Richmond Jazz
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
McBride Stadium 204 NW 13th St Richmond, IN 47374
Year Opened: 1936
Jazzing up the Summer at McBride Stadium
Baseball has been played at John Cate Field at McBride Stadium since August 1936. The former gravel pit was transformed to replace Exhibition Park, which had been destroyed by a fire the previous year. McBride was first known as Municipal Stadium when it opened for American Legion baseball, funded by the Works Progress Administration.
The first professional team was the Richmond Roses, who began play in 1946, the Class D affiliate of the Boston Braves. The 1947 home opener saw the Roses notch a 4-1 victory in front of 1,559 fans under cool, windy Indiana springtime weather. The club compiled a 202-220 record in three seasons and attracted 58,039 fans during the 1948 season, the highest total of any affiliated club at the stadium.
In 1949 the independent Richmond Robins were established but were soon replaced after one season by the Richmond Tigers of the Ohio-Indiana League. The Detroit affiliate featured future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, who posted a 7-8 record in his first year of pro ball in 1950. However, in December 1951, Detroit withdrew its affiliation, citing instability with the league and the scarcity of players due to the military draft. It would be 44 years before another professional minor league ball club would return to the city.
McBride would continue hosting American Legion and high school baseball during the next four decades, but the years of baseball took its toll on the diamond. The playing field was uneven and in bad shape; it was recrowned thanks to efforts by Richmond High School baseball coach John Cate. He would later manage the Richmond Roosters of the Frontier League, the first professional baseball team at McBride in 43 years. The ball club would capture two league championships in 2001 and 2002.
Unfortunately, the club relocated in 2006 and then replaced with the Richmond River Rats of the Prospect League in 2009. The collegiate summer league team would compete for seven years before making way for its current tenant, the Richmond Jazz of the Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League, in 2016.
The 1,874-seat ballpark features a small wooden roof grandstand, original light poles, a sloping grass hill down the left field line, and plenty of memories from high school, legion, professional, and collegiate baseball of the past 80 years.
From gravel pit to baseball ballpark, McBride is a hidden gem of a ballpark in Indiana.
Food & Beverage 3
The stadium introduced an updated menu for the 2023 season that includes a few upgrades. Burgers come with all the fixings; brats, hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos, and fries are served with chili and cheese if desired. The team reinstated the Rowdy Roosted chicken sandwich popular during the days of the Roosters of the Frontier League. There is also a chicken club and BLT sandwich.
The stadium's signature item is the Dog-a-Rita: smoked sausage, chili, shredded cheese, and Fritos. The cost is $5, and worth trying if you are an adventurous eater. It is a filling item on the concession stand at McBride Stadium.
There is also an abundance of candy and frozen treats for sale. Candy bars sell for $1, boxed candy for $2, and frozen chocolate bars and ice cream are $2. Coca-Cola products cost $2 a bottle, Budweiser, Coors, and Miller products sell $4 a can, and a glass of wine is only $5.
The game-day atmosphere has been somewhat vapid the past two seasons with a lack of merchandise area, signage, and banners that use to enhance the ballpark's atmosphere. The Jazz first few seasons had a few more fans in attendance and that could depend on the night you attend during the season.
The small ticket window greets customers walking up the hill from the parking lot. The two-window concession booth offers menu items from food to drink, but there does not appear to be a merchandise table at the ballpark.
The entrance to the grandstand holds a bit of nostalgia as it is sunken into the field and a hill. There are roughly 14 rows of wooden and metal bleachers and plastic theater-style box seats. The wooden bleacher seats take up the majority of the seating bowl and were built in 2021. The wooden columns are a reminder of ballparks of the past and the view of the game is not interrupted by them.
Down the left field line is plenty of green grass for kids to run around. The sloped area extends behind the left field wall and features a wooden deck that was once used as a picnic patio section; it’s now open to anyone who wants to watch the game from a different vantage point.
There are in-between inning promotions and gimmicks, but on a much smaller scale than in previous seasons, but there is an on-field P.A. announcer who does a nice job of entertaining the crowd on hand in the stands. He speaks from the newly constructed PA booth that now sits underneath the grandstand. The Jazz does not have a mascot who parades around entertaining fans young and old.
McBride is nestled into a residential community in Clear Creek Park and it is adjacent to several little league fields. It is a type of town where one can leave their doors unlocked or take a stroll at 3 a.m. without fear. It is also a reminder of what small towns might have felt like a few decades ago when minor-league ballparks were almost everywhere.
There are not many dining options within proximity of the stadium and one would need to drive a few miles to find a place to eat. Little Sheeba’s offers great pizza and baked jalapeno poppers, and Galo’s Italian Grill is another fine option. Firehouse BBQ is located in a historic firehouse, Roscoe's Coffee Bar & Tap Room allows visitors to play board games in a relaxed environment, and The Cordial Inn is classy and casual in n the Historic Depot District
There are quite a bit of national chains, but one local establishment off Interstate 70 called Fricker’s has some of the best hot wings in the area. And to my beer and wine connoisseurs, there are two local brewpubs in town: New Boswell.
The crowds have been somewhat smaller than in previous seasons, but on certain weekends and fireworks nights, the games are very well attended. The ballpark does not need to be at capacity to feel like a sellout, crowds of 1,000-1,500 could easily give the place some much-needed life.
Even though Richmond is a small town, it is easy to get lost when trying to find McBride Stadium, as there are no road signs to the ballpark from either I-70 or SR-40. The ballpark is a 10-minute drive south from I-70 but use GPS.
If you are traveling on I-70: take exit 149 A Williamsburg Pike south, make a right onto Indiana Ave, then a left onto NW 13 St, and the stadium is on the left. Once arriving at the ballpark, you should be able to find a spot in the free parking lot, on the street outside the stadium's walls, or somewhere on the streets in the neighborhood.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to all Jazz games are only $6 for adults, $5 for kids, and free of charge for kids under six. The parking is free in the grass-covered parking lot and menu options, such as a hot dog for $2.50, are a great price. It is a nice price point for Great Lakes League baseball.
McBride earns a point for the vintage light towers that loom over the field. They look as if they are as old as the stadium itself.
The setting of McBride Stadium takes visitors back to another era of baseball and at one time, a typical scene in minor league baseball following World War II. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back in time and enjoy baseball the old-fashioned way.
A trip to a Jazz game at McBride Stadium should not go unnoticed. It may not be for the casual fan, but depending on who you are with, it may make a nice little treat during the baseball season. In an era where million-dollar structures are opening up and trying to outshine one another, a small cozy ball field will always be a reminder that home is not too far away.