Chronological Tour: Stop 272

Goin’ Yard in Gary

Home-plate entrance to U.S. Steel Yard, Jul-2004.

The seating bowl, as seen from the outfield concourse.

The Indiana East-West Toll Road, rail lines, and the U.S. Steel Gary Works all lie beyond the outfield.

Quick Facts: Rating: 3 baseballs
Construction delays caused Gary Municipal Stadium to be incomplete until August 2002, forcing the Gary SouthShore RailCats to play their initial Northern League season on the road. The park was dedicated before season’s end, but the team delayed its home debut until the spring of 2003, by which time U.S. Steel, which operates a huge plant between the field and Lake Michigan, had signed on as the naming sponsor.

The park was worth waiting for. It consists of a little over 5,700 stadium seats in one bowl, with no cross aisle, and an upper concession concourse, much of which is shaded by the press and luxury box area. Berm seating expands the field’s capacity. The concourse extends all the way around the outfield, and a national bar-and-grill chain has set up shop in right field, a location that is open year-round in addition to offering service during the games.

It reportedly took a little while for South Shore residents to get the hang of going to downtown Gary to watch baseball, as for years the area has not had a reputation as a good neighborhood. However, parking is free, although the concession prices are unusually high, with a pre-cooked cheeseburger going for $4.25 and a large soda $3.75.

In any case, 4,087 fans showed up on a warm Sunday afternoon in July 2004 to watch a club that was sitting in last place in its division, when they could have been up in Chicago watching the White Sox battle for the division lead, or sitting home watching that game on TV. I guess the ball club in Gary has caught on, and deservedly so.

The team’s name comes from the South Shore Railroad, which runs beyond left field (on the other side of 4 Avenue) operating both interurban passenger and freight service.

Game # Date League Level Result
667 Sun 11-Jul-2004 Northern Ind. Sioux City 7, GARY 0
1429 Sun 6-Sep-2015 American Assn Ind. GARY 3, KC T-bones 0
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This page updated 6-Sep-2015