RICHARD "ITCHY" JONES STADIUM
The Southern Illinois baseball team moved into the brand new $4.2 million Richard "Itchy" Jones Stadium for the 2014 season after playing at Abe Martin Field since 1964. The renovated facility is named after SIU's all-time winningest baseball coach. In 21 years as head coach, Jones led the Salukis to 10 NCAA Tournaments and three College World Series.
Constructed on the site of Abe Martin Field, Itchy Jones Stadium features two varieties of AstroTurf artificial grass playing surface. The outfield features 3D Extreme, and the stadium is the first in the United States to install AstroTurf's new 3Di on the base paths. The pitchers mound is a traditional natural surface, while the remainder of the field's playing surface is comprised of AstroTurf.
Over 145,000 square feet and 55,000 pounds of turf were used to cover the field. It sits atop 5,400 tons of rock sub-base and was installed using 420,000 pounds of rubber infill and 210,000 pounds of sand infill.
The field and bullpens are surrounded by outfield walls and sidewalls that were newly installed in 2014. Each traditional, below ground dugout is 56-feet long and features a restroom and a camera well to accommodate photographers.
The modern, concrete seating bowl features five rows of chair back seats behind home plate and bleachers with back rests along the baselines. Picnic tables line the concourse for a relaxing viewing experience. Itchy Jones Stadium also features a permanent concession stand and merchandise stand along with heated restrooms on the concourse behind home plate. The ticket window is located next to the clubhouse, along the third baseline. The stadium also features, new, expanded handicap parking on the road adjacent to the left field line.
The installation of six Musco stadium light poles in 2014 allow for night games at the park. The first home night game in program history was played on Friday, April 4 against Bradley.
The press box, named in honor of longtime Saluki broadcaster Mike Reis, was built for a cost of approximately $175,000. It is 80 percent larger than the press box at Abe Martin Field, which was built by Jones, himself. Included in the 800-square foot press box are two radio booths and one flex booth that can accommodate radio or television. It also features a television production center and game operations suite.
The Dan Callahan Clubhouse was renamed in 2014 to honor the late head coach of the Salukis, who guided SIU for 16 seasons.
The upgrades provide a fan-friendly stadium that student-athletes, fans and alumni can be proud to call the home of Saluki Baseball.