Ralph McKinzie Field - Home of NIU Baseball
Since 1965, Ralph McKinzie Field has played host to Northern Illinois baseball. Originally constructed as part of the outdoor athletics complex designed by then-athletics director George "Chick" Evans, the home of the Huskies has undergone several improvements since its opening.
Following the 2004 season, nationally renowned H&K Enterprises completing a resurfacing project that resulted in a new infield surface. The "Magic Mix" infield is the same used by several professional baseball stadiums throughout the nation and features superior draining capabilities.
With the help of Local Carpenters Union 780 and Lowe's, a new wooden fence was installed around the playing field prior to the 2001 season.
A new aluminum grandstand and press box facilities were added during the 1993 season and the following year fencing was constructed to close off the perimeter of the facility. Among other improvements made to McKinzie Field were portable batting cages, a newly-updated and enhanced field watering system, and a new shed that tripled storage capacity.
McKinzie Field is the third baseball home for the Huskies. NIU's first two facilities were on the west bank of the Kishwaukee River, where the Visual Arts Building presently stands, and at the "North 40" area near Anderson Hall.
About Ralph McKinzie
One of NIU's early pioneers, Ralph McKinzie's contributions spanned nearly a quarter of a century (1940-63) and resulted in his induction as a charter member of Huskie Athletics Hall of Fame in 1978.
Before coming to NIU, McKinzie was a three-sport standout as an undergraduate, served in the U.S. Army in World War I, and coached at two colleges. While at Eureka College, McKinzie coached President Ronald Reagan, who played offensive guard from 1928-32.
At NIU, McKinzie served terms as coach for baseball, tennis and track, was an assistant football coach and an athletics trainer. He led the baseball program in 1945 and from 1949-56 totaling 70 career wins, including Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles in 1950 and 1951.
McKinzie died at the age of 96 on Dec. 7, 1990.
McKinzie Field FactsOriginal Construction: 1965
First Game: April 10, 1965 (L, 13-1 to Wisconsin)
First NIU Win: April 30, 1965 (W, 10-5 over Central Michigan)
Dedication/Naming: May 8, 1993
All-Time Home Record: 353-295-10 (.544)
Home Record since 2003: 63-35-1 (641)
Dimensions (L to R): 312-368-395-368-322
Outfield Wall Height: 8 feet