Dick Howser Stadium has taken its place as one of the top collegiate baseball facilities in the country after a two-year, $12 million dollar project was completed in 2004.
Located on the campus of Florida State University, the stadium has welcomed more than four million people since it was opened in 1983 and has provided fans with the feeling of having “the best seat in the house” to watch the finest in college baseball action. On April 2, 2005, Florida State University dedicated the field at Dick Howser Stadium to current head coach Mike Martin. Florida State’s skipper for the last 38 years coaches on the diamond bearing his name, Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.
Florida State’s players and coaches enjoy the convenience and luxury of a clubhouse and locker room currently located behind the Seminole dugout. The Griffin Family Clubhouse was moved to the first base side for the 2004 season as the construction process was completed. The locker room contains a personalized wooden locker for each player, a separate locker room for the Seminole coaches and trainers, and a video area where FSU players and coaches can watch film. Stadium capacity increased to 6,700 as additional seats were added during the two-year construction process.
The stadium also houses all of the baseball offices. The coaches’ offices overlook the stadium behind home plate. There is also a weight room and training area adjacent to the clubhouse. Each of the areas were expanded and improved during the renovation process.
There are on-going efforts to keep Dick Howser Stadium one of the top facilities in college baseball. Truly a “player’s ballpark,” the stadium has had many upgrades even since the $12 million renovation was completed. In 2005 an upgraded $50,000 sound system was installed and an enhanced exterior brick façade as the outfield walls now match the exterior grandstand of the stadium. During the summer of 2011, the field underwent a major face lift in which a new drainage system was put in place in the outfield. New sod was also laid in both the infield and outfield, while new clay was deposited in the infield to regulate moisture. The foul territory, from the edge of the outfield grass in front of the first base dugout all the way around to the third base dugout, was lined with turf. The most recent addition to Howser Stadium will find the greatest fans in the nation staying cool as seven new 14-foot fans were installed in the grandstand.
Dick Howser Stadium, named after the late Kansas City Royals and Florida State manager who was also Florida State’s first-ever baseball All-American, is a showcase befitting one of the top collegiate teams in the nation. From the beautifully manicured playing surface to the chair back seats, Howser Stadium is one of the best places in the country to watch a college baseball game.
In 2014, Dick Howser Stadium was rated as one of the top 100 best stadium experiences across all sports in the United States and Canada and one of just eight college baseball stadiums to make the ranking.
Florida State annually ranks in the top 15 nationally in attendance. In 2008, Florida State set the single-season record for total home attendance (202,132) marking the first time in school history that more than 200,000 fans turned out for a single season. In 2014, the Seminoles’ average home attendance eclipsed 5,000 for the first time in school history as FSU averaged 5,019 fans over 34 home games. The Seminole faithful helped reach a new landmark in 2009, when the 39-game home slate brought 184,227 fans to the ballpark, pushing FSU’s all-time, home attendance past three million, and in 2015, total attendance passed four million.
The top three crowds in Dick Howser Stadium history all came during one week of the 2008 season. FSU surpassed 6,000 fans three times in 2012, twice in 2013, five more times in 2014 and twice in 2015. When you consider that the one-millionth fan walked through the gates of Dick Howser Stadium in 1994 – only its 12th season of operation – and three million more made the same trek over the next 21 years, there is little doubt that the Seminoles remain a top draw. Since the 1983 opening, FSU has averaged over 3,000 fans per game and more recently the Seminoles have averaged over 4,000 fans for 13 straight seasons.
The Seminole faithful set the standard for all others in the ACC as more than 100,000 FSU fans have attended games at Dick Howser Stadium each of the last 16 years and 18 of the last 19. No ACC school has drawn as many fans in the new millennium.
Seminole fans are simply the best and most knowledgeable in college baseball. Although they live and die with their Seminoles, the FSU faithful are known nationwide for their sportsmanship and appreciation of good baseball — by both teams. Fans, along with the stadium and a professional game operation, are a large reason that Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium has been chosen as an NCAA Regional Tournament site 31 times in 35 years since its opening in 1983. Dick Howser Stadium has also served as host to 11 Super Regionals since the new postseason format was adopted in 1999.
The stadium was dedicated in honor of Dick Howser in March of 1988 prior to an exhibition game between Florida State and the Kansas City Royals, two of Howser’s former teams. As part of the stadium dedication, Kansas City all-stars George Brett and Bo Jackson helped unveil a new $150,000 matrix scoreboard and a bronze bust of Howser. While the bust of Howser still stands in Haggard Baseball Plaza, the matrix scoreboard was replaced in January 2004 with a new $800,000 video board. The state-of-the-art scoreboard provides lineups, statistics and replays throughout the game and stands 40 feet high and 70 feet wide.
Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium has come a long way in the last two decades. Old Seminole Field was christened Seminole Stadium March 28, 1983, after a one million dollar renovation was completed on the park. Wooden bleachers were replaced with a two-tier concrete grandstand seating 2,500. Modern concession areas, restrooms and a press box complete with separate booths for radio and television broadcasts were also added.
Prior to the 1986 season, a screen was added to the top of the right field wall, increasing in five-foot increments from 20 feet in the power alley to 30 feet in right field — giving a unique effect.
The playing field itself is also often compared to that of a major league park. The FSU grounds crew oversees the everyday upkeep of the playing surface and surroundings, spending hours on the field year-round. The dedication and hard work were rewarded in the fall of 2001, when Dick Howser Stadium was named the best collegiate baseball field in the country. Often taken for granted, the grounds crew gives Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium a playing field unsurpassed by any collegiate team in the nation.
The beautiful home of Florida State’s baseball Seminoles, from the Mike Loynd Tradition Room and the Griffin Family Clubhouse to the top-notch playing field and overall family atmosphere, is indeed a fitting tribute to one of FSU’s greatest alumni, Dick Howser
Florida State played from 1948-1953 at Centennial Field in Downtown Tallahassee, the former site of Florida State football before Doak S. Campbell Stadium was built. On March 18, 1954, the baseball program played its first games on the current site of Dick Howser Stadium on campus.
The Mike Loynd “Tradition Room”, located underneath the first base stands, holds an attractive showcase which tells the story of the great players, award-winners and tremendous FSU teams of the past. Trophies and plaques depicting Florida State’s baseball success through the years adorn the walls. It also provides a comfortable lounge area adjacent to the FSU clubhouse.
Separate wall displays, attractively back-lit, are devoted to Florida State All-Americans, former Seminoles in the pros and FSU’s 22 College World Series teams and 18 conference championships. Another wall is lined with FSU’s most recent tournament and conference championship trophies, as well as replicas of the Golden Spikes Awards of Mike Loynd, Mike Fuentes, J.D. Drew and Buster Posey.
The Mike Loynd Tradition Room, built thanks to the generous donation of former Florida State All-American Mike Loynd, serves as a showcase for the great tradition which is Florida State baseball.
Former Seminole first team All-American John-Ford Griffin grew up in a Garnet & Gold home. Both his father Bill and mother Carla attended FSU as well as his two sisters. So it seems appropriate one of the greatest Seminole baseball players, along with his entire family, have their names adorning the Seminole Clubhouse. Out of appreciation to the family for a generous gift when the school was renovating Dick Howser Stadium, FSU named one of the nation’s top locker rooms in honor of the family as Seminole players now prepare for games and practices in the Griffin Family Clubhouse.
The clubhouse is one of the most impressive in the nation with personalized wooden lockers, a big screen television, a state-of-the-art sound system and every comfort current and future Seminoles could ever ask for.
“Phenomenal” was the first word that came to mind when former Seminole Doug Mientkiewicz first toured the Griffin Family Clubhouse. “I walked into the clubhouse for the first time and I said, ‘This is better than 95% of the big league clubhouses.’ The clubhouse at Fenway, when we won the World Championship in 2004, was about the size of this room. If it’s not the best, I’d like to see the best in college baseball. To me this is the best place to be and this is the best place to play.”
|Dimensions||320' right - 400' center - 340' left|
|Height of Wall||10'|
|Height of Right Field Screen||30'|
|Playing Surface||Natural Grass (Bermuda)|
|Opening Day||March 29, 1983|
|First Game Result||FSU 5, LSU 15|
|First Day Crowd:||1,305|
|First Run||Tommy Zoeller (FSU)|
|First Hit||Zoeller, single to left|
|First RBI||Danny Dowell (FSU), single to score Zoeller|
|First Batter||John Morse (LSU)|
|First Putout||Rick Figueredo (FSU), 5-3 putout on Morse|
|First Assist||Mark Barineau (FSU) on Morse grounder|
|First Double||Ronnie Corbett (LSU), sixth inning|
|First Triple||Ronnie Corbett (LSU), eighth inning|
|First Home Run:||Rick Figueredo (FSU), fifth inning|
|FSU in Dick Howser Stadium:||1,091-236-1 (.822)|