Homer Stryker Field
Review by Gary & Mike
Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo was described to us as a “Frankenstein” ballpark by its GM, Brian, when he and his colleague Tom were kind enough to speak with us on an August morning in 2021. They explained that the stadium before us had been assembled one piece at a time, a long, slow renovation around the original structure that first opened in 1963. Shiny new clubhouse and office buildings, with a modern sunshade, greet visitors as they enter via the right field corner.
With seats from Camden Yards, hockey glass behind home plate and tree trunks that serve as seating down the left field line, Homer Stryker Field is a shining example of how a baseball organization does its best to survive on the limited funds of independent and summer collegiate league baseball. Once home to the Frontier League’s Kalamazoo Kings, Stryker Field holds 4,000 fans who are given many unique of seating choices.
Stryker Field offers no air-conditioned suites, but does advertise “Suite Seats”, which are to be found under the roof of the main grandstand. On-field seating in both the left and right field corners have been placed in front of the park’s original low outfield fence resulting in an exciting confluence of fielder and fans on deep fly balls to the corners. Because of this up-close-and-personal seating, the left field foul pole is a mere 290 feet from home plate. Huge wooden cable rolls have been sawn in half to make semi-circular high tops.
Homer Stryker’s home plate is positioned at the northeast corner of the field, creating a rare instance of the batters having to deal with the setting sun in their eyes. There is a large stand of bleachers on the 3rd base side and another stand of fixed back seating along the 1st base side. Befitting the piecemeal nature of the stadium, the concessions are in the right field corner with a the “Bear Cave” behind the right field fence. A picnic area with tables and chairs fills the gap between the 3rd base bleachers and the left field foul pole.
The ballpark is named for local resident, ballplayer and orthopedist, Homer Stryker. Dr. Stryker’s claim to fame is the development of the mobile hospital bed that allows for repositioning of injured patients and an apparatus for removing hard casts without cutting the body. The Stryker family bought the naming rights in 2002 and placed Homer's name on the field. Thanks to Tom and Brian for their time and for letting us explore their most interesting ballpark.