Sycamore Field

Sycamore Field

When it comes to college baseball, Indiana State-style, there is certainly no better place than home - Sycamore Field.

Cozy Sycamore Field, built in 1977 and opened to the public for the first time in the spring of 1978, is located on the northwest side of the Indiana State University campus. The stadium has been recognized as one of the finest collegiate owned-and-operated baseball facilities in the entire Midwest.

Since ISU's first home game on March 29, 1978 against Lawrence University, fans have turned out in record numbers to watch Indiana State baseball at Sycamore Field. The facility has been known over the years by such monikers as ISU Field and "The House of Shock," but Sycamore Field has been the home to many Indiana State baseball standouts.

Indiana State has played its home games at a variety of sites around Terre Haute, including old Memorial Stadium (which has since been refurbished and is now the home of the ISU football team) and Valley Field, which is located on the city's northeast side and is the base of the area Babe Ruth League program.

Construction of Sycamore Field began on July 31, 1976, which led to the necessitation of closing an unused portion of North Second Street and the tearing down of a house and a few trees on the property, which was owned by the University.

"Many people don't realize that we never had a baseball facility of our own (at Indiana State)," recalled former ISU athletic director Bob King during a visit to the facility. King was one of the prime movers and shakers in the building of the new stadium. "Valley Field was an extremely difficult place for our students to get to because it's so far from the campus. This place (Sycamore Field) is within easy walking distance from the dorms"

Indiana State Head Coach Bob Warn certainly remembers the early years at Valley Field. "After my (job) interview, I drove back to the ballpark on my own, wanting to get another look. But I couldn't find it. It seemed like I drove around a day-and-a-half," he smiles now. "It was simply and undesirable place to play. It was three miles from campus. If I couldn't find it, how about students who don't have cars?

"That's where Bob King proved helpful. He told me to design the kind of park I wanted and that he'd try to get it. He did his part, and after a year the administrative people took charge. Now we have it, right on campus."

Over the years, Sycamore Field has served both the Indiana State and the Terre Haute athletic communities well -having been the site of the 1982 Missouri Valley Conference baseball championships as well as various high school, Babe Ruth and American Legion tournaments throughout the spring and summer.

The Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association has played its annual North-South All-Star series at the stadium twice (1982, 1991) and is expected back sometime in the near future. The facility was also the home to the Wayne Newton post 346 team during the summer months. The eight-team American Legion Great Lakes Region 5 tournament was played at Sycamore Field a few years ago.

Above ground 40-foot dugouts border the grandstand area and three year-round batting cages have been constructed along the left and right field foul lines. A crimson stone warning track helps to give the facility a contrast in bright colors.

A nine-inning scoreboard sits behind the right field fence, while several strategically placed evergreen trees behind the outfield fence gives hitters an excellent hitting background. The field dimensions show a symmetrical 340-feet down each foul line, 380-feet to the power alleys and 402-feet to straightaway center field.

The official seating capacity at Sycamore Field is 2,500, although standing-room only crowds will exceed that figure. All seating in Sycamore Field is aluminum, although many of the team's younger fans prefer to set up lawn chairs and beach towels or simply stand along an area down the right field foul line known affectionately as "The Hill."

A press box that seats up to 20 people s located at the top of the grandstand directly behind the home plate area. An outside press seating area in front of the press box, with room for 8-10 people, is also available to reporters and scouts. Former ISU Athletic Director Brian Faison and Warn teamed up to guide Sycamore Field through a period of tremendous change. New Astroturf was added five years ago. A state-of-the-art lighting system was added several years ago, featuring eight light standards - each standing 110 feet high - that surround the playing field (four in the outfield, one down each foul line and two behind the press box). Foot-candle output is 110 in the outfield and 160 in the infield. Indiana State played St. Louis University on April 4, 1992, in its first-ever regularly scheduled night game at Sycamore Field and now night games have become the standard for Terre Haute residents in the spring.

As the Indiana State program continues to evolve, so will Sycamore Field as Coach Warn and the ISU administration look for future additions to add to the experience.