Homer Stryker Field at Mayor's Riverfront Park
- Location: Kalamazoo, MI
- Left Field Wall: 306 ft.
- Center Field Wall: 395 ft.
- Right Field Wall: 330 ft.
- Seating Capacity: 4000 (approximately)
Homer Stryker Field at Mayor's Riverfront Park is a minor league ballpark located in Kalamazoo, MI, originally built in 1929 and which has undergone a number of name changes and renovations since.
History and Development
In 1895, The city of Kalamazoo, MI purchased land along the Kalamazoo River for city improvements. The land lay unused for 30 years, until the city developed it into Riverfront Park in 1925. In 1929, thanks to a generous donation of $250.00, the first baseball field was built at the Riverfront Park. It was not until 1949 that the first bleachers were built and the park could again become the host of professional baseball. (see 1926)
In the early 1950s, Riverfront Park was the home of one of the nation's first women's professional baseball teams, the Kalamazoo Lassies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as well as several semi-professional and amateur teams. In the spring of 1958, the first lights were added to the park, and in 1963, the bleachers were replaced by grandstands further modernizing the ball field at Riverfront Park.
In 1967, the park was renamed Sutherland Field in honor of Mayor Louis W. Sutherland, who had been instrumental in the development of baseball in Kalamazoo.
1995-Present, Kalamazoo's Modern Baseball Era
In the 1990s, after years of being unused, Sutherland Field had become overgrown with weeds and was being used by the city as a place to deposit its collected leaves and brush. In 1995, Kalamazoo's City Commission approved the building of an improved sports complex at Riverfront Park. The complex, which included Sutherland Field was renamed Annen Park after Mayor Ed Annen Jr. who was central to the development of the project. Renovations to the park were completed in 1996, and the complex re-opened as the home of the Kalamazoo Kodiaks of the independent Frontier League. The Kodiaks were far from successful on the field, and the annual attendance for 1998 was a meager 41,331. The team left Kalamazoo following the 1998 season.
In 2001, the park was cleaned up and re-opened as the home of the Kalamazoo Kings, who also played in the Frontier League. The following year, Annen Park was renamed Mayor's Riverfront Park to honor all of the mayors who had served Kalamazoo and helped to develop baseball in the city.
That year, the Stryker family donated the funds to build a club house and make improvements to the field. In turn, the field was renamed Homer Stryker Field in honor of Dr. Homer Stryker, founder of the Stryker corporation.
In 2003, a new concession area was added along the third base line and a fan services and souvenir building was added along the first base concourse. A left field deck was added to allow a second picnic area available for rent.
In 2005, the Homer Styker Field at Mayor's Riverfront Park became home to the Frontier League Champions as the Kalamazoo Kings took the title.
Teams Calling Mayor's Riverfront Park Home
- 1926: Kalamazoo Celery Pickers - Central League, Michigan State League
- 1949 & 1951: Sutherland Paper Company National Semi-Professional Championship Teams
- 1950-1954: Kalamazoo Lassies - All American Girls Professional Baseball League
- 1996-1998: Kalamazoo Kodiaks- Frontier League
- 2001-2010: Kalamazoo Kings- Frontier League