Wayne State unveiled their newest athletic facility Tuesday: Ernie Harwell Field, named in a tribute to the late Detroit Tigers broadcaster.
The new addition to the current WSU baseball field adds grandstands, a press box, player clubhouses, and a foyer to a field that was already considered one of the best in D2 Baseball.
The addition was funded in part by the estate of Ernie Harwell, long-time broadcaster for the Tigers as well as the Brooklyn Dodgers. Harwell was chosen as the namesake for the addition because of his charitable donations to the Detroit area and state of Michigan.
Wayne State is also recognized for their contributions to Detroit, as they serve host to many youth outreach programs and youth athletic events.
Long-time Tigers and Dogers broadcaster Ernie Harwell (Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame)[/credit]
From the outside, Harwell Filed will emulate the feel of Ebbets Field (home of the Brooklyn Dodgers), all the way down to the limestone in the arches, a signature feature of the old stadium that was open from 1913 until its demolition in 1960. The WSU stadium also just so happens to sit across from Brooklyn Street, a coincidence that fits perfectly with the man they plan to honor.
Ebbets field isn't the only classic ballpark Wayne State drew inspiration from for their ball field. The first thing many may notice when they walk in to the new building is a giant green wall in left field, similar to "The Green Monster" at Fenway Park. The Harwell Field version stands 37.5 feet tall, so it'll be a great feat if any batter can clear the Wayne State monster.
The wall isn't the only fun tidbit for classic baseball fans in left field. At the base of the left field wall sits an electronic scoreboard. It's not a modern-day rendition of old-time technology — it's the actual scoreboard used at the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Wayne State was able to refurbish the board and install it at their park.
It's rare to see so many historical references to America's past time in one spot, but Wayne State has done a tremendous job putting together a stadium any baseball fan should visit. Recently, we at HERO Sports tried to narrow down who had the best field in D2, and clearly Harwell Field needs to be added to that list.
Take a look at the video below from MLive.com, and see the insides of the new construction project. After that, see if you can book a trip to the Detroit area and see a piece (or several pieces) of baseball history.