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|Year ||Total ||Rank *
|* The Colts' total attendance ranking in the 6-team United League (2006-2010), the 8-team Central League (2002-2005, had 10 teams in '03), and the Texas-Louisiana League, which had 8 teams in 2000 and 7 teams in 2001
Everything written or compiled on this page was done so by Graham Knight following a baseball pilgrimage to Foster Field on July 1-2, 2011. All pictures were taken on those dates.
Comments about Foster Field can be made at the Baseball Pilgrimages Facebook page, which has a section dedicated to the San Angelo ballpark.
Sources for ballpark historical information available upon request.
Where the pursuit of baseball never ends.
For a small independent league ballpark, San Angelo's Foster Field has a little bit of everything. Built in about six months and opened in 2000 for just $2.5 million, the price tag is a giveaway that there's a lot of aluminum. The corrugated tin stuff frames much of the playing field and is what the tall outfield fence is made of. Within the grandstand, which extends from foul pole to foul pole, there's an ample amount of bleachers, although there is enough bucket-style seats to hold an average crowd for the San Angelo Colts, who play in the stately named North American League. The ballpark's biggest pizzazz was added in 2010 -- a big scoreboard in right-center with an often used high-definition video screen. It's certainly impressive for a ballpark at this level. Overhead cover is available for a couple of sections on each side of the field between the dugouts, but the simple beam supported roofs restrict air flow, which is something you like to have during a game in West Texas. With slightly smallish playing field dimensions (it's just 395' to CF and 370' in the gaps) and balls thrown by pitchers of a lesser caliber, this has the potential to be a home run friendly ballpark, and when the home team homers that's when the "home run dollar program
" goes into effect. While I merely expected to find a glorified high school field, this 4,000 and some seat simply designed indy league park certainly is a neat little bandbox and is more than a decent place to watch a game.
Foster Field is across the street from the majority of the athletic facilities found on the campus of Angelo State University, upon whose land the ballpark was built. Quite visible from the ballpark's parking lot is the school's rather big basketball arena, the 6,500-seat Junell Center, and the seating bowl of the LeGrand Sports Complex, which has hosted many NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Just beyond the ballpark's left field wall are lighted intramural fields for the University's students. A nice looking commercial strip is near the ballpark and it has some recognizable chain restaurants and hotels.
No matter from which direction you're coming from, Foster Field is well off the most beaten of paths, those being the Interstates north (I-20) and south (I-10) of what is the largest city in what is known as the Concho Valley. San Angelo's population is roughly 100,000 and it's about 100 miles to either Interstate, so driving on a U.S. Highway through some rural areas in West Central Texas is a must. When in San Angelo, the easiest way to get to the Colts' ballpark is to find Knickerbocker Road. From it you'll turn onto University Avenue, perhaps noticing the welcome sign to Angelo State near the intersection but surely not missing the ballpark a short distance ahead on the right. It's main entrance is across the street from a bank. If you have trouble trying to find the ballpark merely follow the signage to Angelo State and you'll end up where you want to be.
A big parking lot extends around the ballpark, essentially tracing its foul line to foul line grandstand. The whole lot is paved, but its asphalt has been weathered to the point that loose gravel is visible. Such is the oppressiveness of the Texas heat. The weather-beaten lot has two entrances. A marquee designates the main one, which is off of University Avenue. A much lesser used backside entrance is on Jackson Street. Parking lot attendants are stationed at both entrances, although they let season ticket holders pass by toll free. Everybody else has to pay just a small fee.
Eating & Lodging Options
Mileage to Foster Field is listed in parenthesis
|Carino's Italian (0.1)
1407 Knickerbocker Road
San Angelo, TX 76904
1309 Knickerbocker Road
San Angelo, TX 76904
|Cork & Pig Tavern (0.8)
2201 Knickerbocker Road
San Angelo, TX 76904
|Texas Steak Express (4.4)
4397 Sunset Drive
San Angelo, TX 76901
|Staybridge Suites (0.1)
1355 Knickerbocker Road
San Angelo, TX 76904
|Fairfield Inn & Suites (0.1)
1459 Knickerbocker Road
San Angelo, TX 76904
|Days Inn (1.2)
4613 S Jackson Street
San Angelo, TX 76903
|Knights Inn (2.4)
402 W Beauregard Avenue
San Angelo, TX 76903
(Click on the icon to see a picture of a specifically detailed part of Foster Field on our page)
Ballpark Features & Details
Fans buy tickets from the distinctive building that makes up the ballpark's facade. The angular looking box office has two sides that meet in the middle, above which a triangular addition to the roof identifies the ballpark’s name and claim as the “home of the San Angelo Colts.” Each half of the box office has three ticket windows and the building is flanked on each side by gates that are topped with horseshoes. The maroon-colored horseshoe is the official logo of the Colts.
The concourse is above the seating bowl, which maxes out at 12 rows. Mesquite trees can be found on and just off the concourse, which has open views of the playing field from everywhere except directly behind home plate, where the small press box is.
The grandstand is symmetrical and has 24 sections. The innermost 14 sections (F-S) have plastic molded seats with a bucket-like contoured bottom, each containing a cup holder. The outer sections (C-E and T-U) contain bleachers with backs, then just bleacher benches (sections A-B and V-X).
Covered seats are available in two sections on each side of the grandstand, between the dugouts and home plate. Those first baseline (N & O) and third baseline (J & K) sections are covered by identical carport-like structures. While the team-colored roofs and beams that support them do provide shade, they also limit the ability of air to flow through the four sections, thereby making them a stuffy place to sit. And since the Colts rarely play day games having shaded seats is not really a necessity in their ballpark.
There are no suites, but open-air VIP areas flank each side of the press box. Far from luxurious, the two areas have patio and deck chairs behind rudimentary tables and a drink rail.
There are three things you see a lot of in this ballpark -- aluminum, brick & wood.
While just about all fencing beyond the dugouts is metallic, the dugouts themselves and the backstop between them are brick based, as is the lower half of the majority of buildings on the concourse. All bricks are cinder block-sized and light or (mostly) tan in color. Wooden structures include the covered picnic tables down each outfield line, the full service bar that's behind the section with four tiers of wooden drink rails down the right field line, and the good sized multi-use piece of playground equipment that's in the left field corner.
Protective netting extends from the outer edge of one dugout to the outer edge of the other.
The United States and Texas state flags fly from separate poles in straightaway center field that are behind the solid maroon colored portion of the outfield fence that serves as the hitter's backdrop.
Purchased and installed in 2010 at a cost of over $500,000, the scoreboard in right-center field is 82' wide by 21' high and includes a high-definition video screen that measures 21' x 15.75'. As if showing off its prowess, the hi-def screen frequently shows video clips from popular movies. The line score portion of the scoreboard is LED lit. The entire structure replaced a simple line score only board that was in the same spot and which was given to Potter County Memorial Stadium in Amarillo following its removal from Foster Field.
Centered behind the scoreboard in right-center field is a large cell phone tower, which is slightly taller than the light tower right next to it. While a higher level minor league ballpark typically has eight light towers, Foster Field has a six light tower system. San Angelo's ballpark does, however, have double the number of speed pitch displays found in most minor league parks, as MPH monitors made by Fair-Play are embedded among the billboard signage in areas on the left-center and right field walls.
Bullpens are in the outfield corners. Each is directly behind a foul pole - the Colts' in left, visitors' in right. Both teams' clubhouses are in the building directly behind the Colts' bullpen. Not too far behind it is another clubhouse building that was built for the amateur co-tenants of the ballpark, the Angelo State Rams. The school’s 1,875-square-foot building, named the Norris Baseball Clubhouse, opened in 2011 and also contains batting cages. The batting cages for the pro guys aren’t in such luxurious or air-conditioned confines, as they’re directly behind the left-center field fence.
A big playground for kids is in the left field corner on the backside of ballpark proper property, where it's downhill from the grandstand and well out of sight of the playing field. To enable parents/guardians to watch their kids and the game, a small set of bleachers has been set up on the end of the concourse behind section A.
The main concession stand is on the backside of the box office building behind home plate. Down each outfield line are shack-sized and freestanding concessionaire outposts. Both are usually manned by a local restaurant.
There's a free for all for all foul balls that land between the press box and concession stand/box office building, as the large open area that spans the two structures is prime foul ball territory.
Just inside of the third base side gate is a tiny team store. Called the Trading Post, it's a walk-in shop and is also the only fan accessible area in the ballpark that is air-conditioned. Dry erase boards showing league standings and the day's starting line-ups are near the store's entrance door.
Home Run Dollar Program
Most independent minor league teams carry on the time-honored tradition of "passing the hat" when a player on the home team hits a home run, a practice begun long ago to help minor league players pad their meager earnings. While such supplemental income opportunities are no longer available to players under contract with a major league organization, there's still incentive to swing for the fences in a non-affiliated ballpark like Foster Field, where a more hands-on approach to passing the proverbial baseball collection plate (be it a hat or boot) through the crowd takes place thanks to the "home run dollar program."
The essence of San Angelo's program is simple yet endearing: when a Colts player homers he proceeds from touching home plate to the backstop, where he goes from one end to the other (first to third) collecting dollar bills through the netting from fans in the stands. As this occurs, the game is delayed. The bigger the crowd, the bigger the bounty and the longer the delay, which is still at least a minute on a small crowd night. For good measure, a member (or members) of the Colts Booster Club will make their way through the grandstand with a bucket to collect "home run dollars."
While the San Angelo players are pros they don't get paid much to play, so being a beneficiary of the program is a big deal and the fans who "tip" the hitter for his homer carry on a tradition with a twist that adds currency to the direct fan/player interaction at Foster Field.
When professional baseball returned to San Angelo after a 41-year hiatus, the name of the new team was chosen as a tribute to the most prominent name used by past San Angelo minor league baseball teams.
The original San Angelo Colts were most notably a beloved member of the Longhorn League from 1948 until the league’s demise in 1955. During that eight year span, the Colts led the league in total attendance five times, averaging 75,794 per season at Guinn Field with a high mark of 115,818 fans in 1951, which is one of two years that those Colts finished in 1st place.
While little is known about where the Colts of long ago played, the current Colts came to town by way of Abilene, about 90 miles to the north, where the franchise had played at Crutcher Scott Field on the campus of Abilene Christian University. The Prairie Dogs, as the team was known as in Abilene, left one University’s grounds for another when moving to San Angelo, where a local group of investors raised enough funds to privately build a ballpark and made a deal to do so on property owned by Angelo State University. The selection of the site seemed fitting, since two of the school's administrators, Harlan Bruha and Robert Hegglund, were the primary movers and shakers in putting San Angelo back on the baseball map.
The stadium that accomplished that was designed and built by a pair of Texas companies who needed just six months to transform a piece of land that, in the words of the local newspaper at the time of its opening, had previously contained “little more than dirt, grass, mesquite trees and thorns.”
Although quite a few mesquite trees were preserved, the rest of the relative nothingness was replaced by Colts Stadium, as the ballpark was originally called when its ceremonial first pitches were tossed on May 13, 2000. One of them was thrown by a Hall of Famer who had never been in San Angelo before: Harmon Killebrew, who just happened to be in town to speak at a luncheon benefiting a local hospice center, something he did often in his role as the national spokesman for VistaCare Family Hospice. At 7:13 on that Saturday evening the first official pitch was thrown by a guy who was not as well known by the 4,862 in attendance. Steve Ortiz was his name. Besides throwing the first pitch, Ortiz became the first losing pitcher in stadium history, as the Colts lost their home's opener, 8-4, to a team from Harlingen, TX that went by the name Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings.
When the stadium opened, Angelo State University didn’t have a baseball team, so the Colts were the sole tenant. They are still the primary tenant, but now share the facility with ASU’s baseball team, who played the first game in school history at what was by then called Foster Field on February 8, 2005. Known as the Rams, they lost their debut, 6-1, to the Incarnate Word Cardinals, a fellow NCAA Division II program, and Foster Field has been an active ballpark on the Lone Star Conference landscape ever since.
The Colts, meanwhile, have been members of four independent leagues during their tenure at the ballpark, beginning with the Texas-Louisiana League (2000-2001). Memberships in the Central League (2002-2005) and United League (2006-2010) followed before Foster Field became a North American League ballpark in 2011.
Foster Field Facts, Figures & Footnotes
Construction cost: $2.5 million
Architect: Gideon Toal
Construction manager: Jim Anglea Turf Construction
Stands on 25 acres of land on the campus of Angelo State University.
Named in memory of Walton Foster, a San Angelo native and longtime resident who was a pioneer in radio and television, first in an on-air role and later as an owner of stations via his company, Foster Communications. Foster, who died in 1995, announced games for the original San Angelo Colts franchise.
Was originally called Colts Stadium.
Since 2005, when the school started its baseball program, has been home to the Angelo State University Rams of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference. Angelo State is a member of the Texas Tech University System.
Hosted its first Division I college game on April 5, 2011, when Texas Tech swept a doubleheader from the University of Texas-San Antonio. Tech won the games by scores of 8-2 and 11-6. The announced attendance was 860.
In June 2011, it was announced that Foster Field would be the site of the 2012 Lone Star Conference Baseball Championship, which will be the 16th postseason tournament in league history and the first one to be held in San Angelo.
Foster Field Firsts
First game: On May 13, 2000, the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings beat the San Angelo Colts, 8-4, in front of 4,862 fans
First pitch: Thrown by Steve Ortiz, it was a ball
Other ballpark firsts (all of which occurred on 5/13/00, unless noted):
|Hit (single) ||Home Run ||Winning Pitcher ||Losing Pitcher ||Save (5/15)
|Hector Roa ||T.D. Taylor ||Yfrain Linares ||Steve Ortiz ||Joe Fretwell
Foster Field Photo Gallery