Last year, Baseball America took a long look at stadiums that host both professional and college teams. This year, there’s a new entrant. Jim Perry Stadium, on the campus of Campbell, is in its first of two seasons as the home of the Astros’ high Class A affiliate. After 2018, the team will move to Fayetteville, N.C., into a sparkling new park. For now, though, the Buies Creek Astros will play their games at a stadium with an old-time approach: No mascots, no between-innings contests, no nonsense. Just baseball.
With that in mind, we decided to take a look at baseball’s hosts with the most to see which ballpark will carry the biggest load in 2017. There other double-duty ballparks than those listed here, but we decided to highlight only those that house both a full-season minor league team and a college team’s home games.
• Hammons Field (Springfield, Mo.)
Primary Residents: Springfield Cardinals. Other Tenants: Missouri State Bears, Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The Breakdown: 70 Cardinals games, 24 Bears games, between 12-15 MVAC Tournament games.
The Total: Between 106-109 games.
Having the MVAC tournament at Hammons Field gives it the edge as the country’s hardest-working ballpark.
• Joseph P. Riley Stadium (Charleston, S.C.)
Primary Residents: Charleston RiverDogs. Other Tenants: Citadel Bulldogs.
The Breakdown: 70 RiverDogs games, 32 Bulldogs games.
Total: 102 games.
Between the Bulldogs and RiverDogs, the stadium grounds crew at The Joe is going to be dog tired come September.
• Jim Perry Stadium (Buies Creek, N.C.)
Primary Residents: Campbell Camels. Other Tenants: Buies Creek Astros
The Breakdown: 30 Camels games, 70 Astros games.
Total: 100 games.
The Astros were granted use of Jim Perry Stadium for 2017-18 in exchange for paying for the installation of a new turf field. The fans, who get to see minor league baseball and college baseball all summer long for some of the cheapest prices in the sport, are the real winners here.
• Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham, N.C.)
Primary Residents: Durham Bulls. Other Tenants: Duke Blue Devils, USA Baseball’s College National Team
The Breakdown: 71 Bulls games, 25 Duke games, 1 College National Team game.
Total: 97 games.
Beyond the Bulls and Blue Devils, the DBAP will once again welcome Team USA’s College National Team for a game against the Cuban National Team, as it did in 2013 and 2015. The workload will get even bigger in 2018 if the NCAA returns the Atlantic Coast Conference to Durham, where it was played in 2016 and was scheduled to be held in 2017 were it not for the association’s decision to remove all championship events from North Carolina in response to the state’s controversial HB2 law.
• Jackie Robinson Ballpark (Daytona, Fla.)
Primary Residents: Daytona Tortugas. Other Tenants: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
The Breakdown: 70 Tortugas games, 25 Wildcats games.
Total: 95 games.
Celebrating its 103rd anniversary in 2017, the Florida State League’s elder statesman is still in strong-enough shape to host nearly 100 games.
• Smith’s Ballpark (Salt Lake City)
Primary Residents: Salt Lake Bees. Other Tenants: Utah Utes.
The Breakdown: 71 Bees games, 24 Utes games.
Total: 95 games.
With the Wasatch mountain range beyond the outfield wall, Smith’s Ballpark provides fans in both the Pacific Coast League and Pacific 12 Conference one of the most scenic views in the game from February through September.
• Municipal Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)
Primary Residents: San Jose Giants. Other Tenants: San Jose State Spartans.
The Breakdown: 70 Giants games. 21 Spartans games.
Total: 91 games.
Former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth, an SJSU alumnus, can come to Municipal Stadium to see both his alma mater and the best the California League has to offer.