Frank Eck Baseball Stadium (Baseball)
Frank Eck Baseball Stadium
Nickname: The Eck
Purpose: Practice & Competition
Record: 387-125-2 (.755)
Square feet: 14,211
Attendance Record: 3,927 vs West Virginia on April 21, 2007 (17-6)
Most Attended Season: 2006 (2,514 average; 60.334 overall; season high: 3,507 vs. Rutgers on April 21, 2006; 2nd highest attendance overall) - included seven of top eight all-time attending games.
Year Opened: 1994
First Game: March 17, 1994 vs Tennessee (5-8)
No. All-Time Varsity Games: 3,600
Surface Type: Natural Grass
Cost: $5.7 million
Upon its opening in 1994, the 2,500-seat stadium became the latest jewel among Notre Dame's ever-expanding athletic facilities. Located on the southeast corner of campus, Eck Stadium has become quite friendly to the Irish. Notre Dame has posted a 387-125-2 mark (for a .755 winning percentage) over the stadium's 19-year history.
The 2006 season featured a record-setting, season-long turnout at Eck Stadium - with the average of 2,514 fans per game including seven of the eight largest crowds in the stadium's history. A sampling of the teams from the May 7, 2006, edition of Baseball America's top-25 poll showed that Notre Dame's record-setting home attendance average ranked 11th-highest among those elite top-25 teams.
Plans to build the stadium were announced June 7, 1991, thanks to a generous gift to the University by alumnus Frank Eck and his company, Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc., of Columbus, Ohio. Eck was the firm's chairman and chief executive officer. He graduated in 1944 with a degree in chemical engineering and later endowed a collection in that field at Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library.
Eck's contributions to Notre Dame have totaled more than $35 million. The most recent, a $21 million gift in 2005, underwrote the construction of the Eck Hall of Law, which includes a second building for the Notre Dame Law School and a multipurpose facility in a neo-Gothic archway that linked the new structure to the existing building. The gift was the fifth largest in Notre Dame's history, the largest ever to the Law School, and one of the largest in the history of American legal education.
Eck's previous benefactions to Notre Dame endowed a library collection in chemical engineering and underwrote construction of the Eck Tennis Pavilion in 1987 and the Eck Center, which includes the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, visitors' center and Alumni Association headquarters, in 1999. He also underwrote a key addition to Eck Stadium in 2000, when an adjoining 9,000-square-foot indoor hitting and pitching facility opened to provide the Notre Dame baseball team with a valuable year-round practice area.
The indoor hitting and pitching facility was completed in time for preseason workouts. The facility - located adjacent to the left field line - includes: wall-to-wall artificial turf floor; three full-length batting tunnels; two regulation clay pitching mounds within the tunnels; a one half-cage with clay home plate area for catchers drills; and an "Iron Mike" pitching machine, with automatic ball feeder and remote control. The 120 x 80 facility includes men's and women's restrooms and a classroom for video analysis. The building is outfitted with complete central air conditioning and heating, plus a lighting setup that matches Major League standards. A final addition is six cardiovascular exercise machines-including two stair masters, three stationary bicycles and a treadmill - which allow maximum conditioning opportunities. The Irish combine use of the new indoor facility (for pitching, hitting and catching) with the existing Loftus Center (used primarily for defensive fundamentals and baserunning).
Loftus Sports Center is located 300 yards north of "The Eck." Dedicated in 1988, Loftus houses Meyo Field and the Haggar Fitness Complex, which augments weightlifting areas in both the Joyce Center and the Rockne Memorial Building as one of the most comprehensive free-weight lifting and exercise machine facilities in the country. Meyo Field is a 100-yard Prestige Turf field surrounded by a six-lane, one-fifth mile long track. The cutting-edge Prestige Turf field allows for fully simulated infield practice and the facility includes a netting system to handle indoor batting practice.
Eck Stadium includes spacious home and visitor locker-room areas, meeting rooms and coaching facilities for each team. The stadium also houses a beautiful press box overlooking home plate and the 2,500-seat grandstand. The stadium is illuminated by a state-of-the-art lighting system, allowing for night play.
Several Stadium renovations and additions have been completed since the end of the 2010 season, with more plans in the works for coming years; most notably, the Coach Pat Murphy Locker Room. The renovation project was made possible through the generous gift of Daniel Murphy, David Murphy, Bert Bondi ('67), Craig Counsell ('92) and John Counsell ('64), as well as other generous supporters of Notre Dame baseball.
The locker space was completely overhauled with the installation of 36 brand new, 30-inch wood lockers including four specially designed corner lockers for the catchers. Lastly, new flat screen, high definition televisions and state-of-the-art RightView Pro technology was installed.
A brand-new, state of the art amber LED board with full color 48" by 256" LED screen was installed in August of 2011. The board provides up to three lines of text and can process imported graphics and in-game statistics and display them by a multitude of animated patterns. The board also can display a running clock and serve as a marquee to promote events.
At the 1995 Notre Dame alumni game, the University officially named Eck Stadium's playing surface Jake Kline Field, in honor of the program's winningest coach. Kline won 558 games in his 42-year career (1934-75).
Eck Stadium boasts one of the finest press box facilities in the nation. Located directly behind home plate, the press box can be outfitted to comfortably seat 25 staff and media members. The press box provides a panoramic view of Eck Stadium, in addition to the outlying athletics facilities that feature practice sessions and games involving the Irish football, soccer and lacrosse teams.
Other amenities within the press box include a restroom and storage area, plus a series of video monitors that provide real-time game stats and updated season stats for each player as the game progresses. One other addition beginning with the 2001 season was an enclosed radio booth within the press box.