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  • Eric Moreno

Whataburger Field – Corpus Christi Hooks


Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Whataburger Field 734 E Port Ave Corpus Christi, TX 78401

Corpus Christi Hooks website

Whataburger Field website


Year Opened: 2005

Capacity: 7,050

 

Reeling in Fans Hook, Line, and Sinker

Few spots in Texas are as popular for weekend getaways and short vacations as the Gulf Coast, and the hub of that region is Corpus Christi, the Sparkling City by the Sea. The city has a long history of being associated with Minor League Baseball, starting with the Corpus Christi Giants in the 1950s. But in 2005, the city welcomed the Corpus Christi Hooks to town, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

For the entirety of the team’s history, the Hooks have called the beautiful facility of Whataburger Field their home. Built on the grounds of an old cotton warehouse on the city’s waterfront, the ballpark has become one of the more popular stops on the Texas League schedule.

Food & Beverage 3

There’s a great variety of ballpark friendly food selections at Whataburger Field. However, one of the best innovations I have seen in terms of concessions at sporting events is their credit card only stand on the main concourse behind home plate, where you can order your traditional ballpark favorites, such as hot dogs, nachos, pickles, popcorn, sodas, etc., and pay at a kiosk – your food is then handed to you at a station next to the kiosk. There are five or six of these pay/order kiosks at Whataburger Field, and this helps the concessions lines move really quickly.

There are also a couple of options beyond your typical ballgame fare which have proven to be popular. The Tenders, Love, and Chicken stand offers, as you can guess, chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches – a tenders basket or a sandwich basket will run you about $12; these have proven to be popular options, so you can expect some longer lines at this stand.

This can also be said for the stadium’s namesake, Whataburger. I know I’m a bit biased as a Texan who has basically eaten at this beloved chain for my whole life, and I could be considered a big fan, but I know I’m not the only one by a long shot. The Whataburger stand in the stadium offers a full range of their signature favorites and, yes there will be long lines here as well. However, you can bet it will be worth it.

Atmosphere 4

The overall look and feel of Whataburger Field is flat out wonderful. You can easily imagine the stadium, with its red brick exterior and the backdrop of Corpus Christi Bay in the outfield, existing in another time. That would be a good thing. Everything about Whataburger Field reminds fans of a time when baseball was king.

Aside from the aesthetics, there are other great features that make Whataburger Field one of the top spots in the Texas League. There are the outfield hills/berms/grassy areas for general admission seating, as well as a dodgeball court, half-court basketball court, and a rock wall for kids to enjoy. In addition, the remains of the old cotton processing facilities are still in place in left center field holding up the ballpark’s scoreboard – this adds a great old time look and makes for a unique feature.

Also hearkening back to the field’s former existence is the Cotton Club located on the second level of Whataburger Field. Open to suite holders along the third baseline, this area has a full-service bar and an exclusive dining menu. It is also air-conditioned, which is a perk to be sure for those braving Hooks games during the dog days of summer on the Texas coast.

Neighborhood 4

Corpus Christi is one of the top vacation spots in the state for residents of Texas. The temperate waters of Corpus Christi Bay and the popular North Beach access point to the Gulf (this is a very popular spot for those who like to camp out at night on the beach) are all within eyesight of Whataburger Field. It’s never a bad thing when you can see the beach, and you can do just that when you’re at Hooks games.

But, the Sparkling City has other options for you if you want to do more than get a tan at the beach before and/or after the baseball game. If you are bringing younger fans with you, the Texas State Aquarium is a must visit. Sharks, sea turtles, river otters, jellies, and even a bald eagle can all be seen by visitors to this gem of a facility.

For history buffs, the USS Lexington is docked in the bay and open year-round for visitors. “The Blue Ghost” saw action during World War II and has become a floating museum of military history – it is easily the top attraction in Corpus Christi. Also, be sure to make a pit stop to Brewster Street Icehouse, which is within walking distance of Whataburger Field. Great burgers, cold beer, and live music are its calling cards.

Fans 3

The Hooks average just under 5,000 fans per game and are consistently near the top of the Texas League in terms of fan attendance each year. In the past few years, the Hooks have been essential to the rise of their parent club, the Houston Astros.

The big league club’s best players have all done stints with the Hooks and the fans have appreciated seeing this excellence in Corpus Christi. You’ll see tons of Astros and Hooks paraphernalia in the stands during games, and this is also a really good, knowledgeable fan base.

Access 3

Corpus Christi and, subsequently, Whataburger Field, are about two hours south of San Antonio on Interstate 37. Once you get into town, the ballpark is located off Interstate 181. The city has done a great job of adding signage directing visitors to Corpus Christi’s main attractions, so even if you are unfamiliar with the city, you’ll easily be able to find your way to the game.

Once in the city’s SEA (Sports, Entertainment, and Arts) District, where the ballpark is located, there is plenty of parking available to you. Parking directly across from the stadium will cost you $10, which is not bad considering what you get. There is also a public transportation option that can get you to games if you don’t feel like dealing with traffic.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets for Corpus Christi Hooks games start at $9 per person and go as high as $19 per person depending on your seat. This is a really great bargain – if you take into account the very reasonable concessions prices, the parking, and the scenery at Whataburger Field, this is a price that is hard to beat, especially if you’re going to games with a group.

Extras 4

Like all minor league teams, the Hooks have a lot to offer in the way of Extras to enhance your in-game experience. There are contests in between innings, there is the play area for kids, and there is also a pool and hot tub beyond the walls in right field.

The Hooks have two costumed mascots – Rusty Hook and Sammy the Seagull – that are sure to be a hit with younger fans. They can be seen the entire game patrolling the concourse areas and tossing T-shirts into the crowd.

Corpus Christi also takes part in Minor League Baseball’s Copa de Diversion initiative and on certain games, they adopt the name of the Corpus Christi Raspas. Their multi-colored uniforms during these games have proven to be big sellers.

Final Thoughts

I have seen quite a few games at Whataburger Field over the years and I really have enjoyed every one of my visits. This is truly a gorgeous facility and I think it is one of the best in all of minor league baseball. The retro exterior and the incorporation of the former cotton warehouse into the current structure make this a great looking facility. When you take into consideration the city that it is located in, I think you’ll agree that Whataburger Field is one of the best minor league parks in the country.

Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477. Visit Eric Moreno’s writer’s portfolio site at ericmoreno.contently.com.

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