You will take a step back in baseball history when you visit Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, located on the southwest edge of downtown Wichita. Home to the American Association’s Wichita Wingnuts and the National Baseball Congress (NBC), the 1934-built ballpark features a treasure trove of baseball history.
Year Opened: 1934
Capacity: 6,400 (3,000 chairback seats, 3,400 bench seats)
Dimensions: 344L, 401C, 312R
Playing Surface: Artificial turf infield, grass outfield
Websites: wichitawingnuts.com, nbcbaseball.com
Phone: 316/264-NUTS (6887)
Ticket Prices (2010): Lower Box, $12; Upper Chairback, $9; General Admission, $6
League: American Association (independent)
Address/Directions: 300 S. Sycamore, Wichita. Take I-135 to U.S. Hwy. 54 (also called Kellogg) and head west to Seneca Street. At Seneca Street, turn right and head north to Maple. Hang a right onto Maple heading east. Lawrence Dumont Stadium is located five blocks east of Maple and Seneca.
Text and Photos By: Jim Robins
Numerous historical plaques pay tribute to the rich history of the NBC and pro baseball. Learn about Johnny Damon’s 1995 stint with the Wichita Wranglers. In 1982, Roger Clemens pitched for Hutchinson Broncs at the NBC, going 6-0 with a 2.16 ERA. Back in 1964, Graig Nettles managed to go only 5-for-26 at NBC while playing in the outfield – hardly an indication that he would become a Major League Gold Glover at third base.
The quality artwork accompanying much of the historical exhibits was done by the Wichita-based Greteman Group, which has also assisted in stadium renovations in Pittsburgh. Be sure to check out the NBC Walk of Fame located beyond the right-field fence along McLean Avenue. Lawrence Dumont is named for Wichita pioneer Robert E. Lawrence and Raymond “Hap” Dumont, who founded the NBC in 1931.
One unavoidable concession to the heavy use of the ballfield –- including more than 80 NBC games in barely more than two weeks -– is the Astroturf infield, which seems a little out of place in a venue steeped in history.
Hotels nearby include the Hiatt with a good view of the field, and the Radisson within walking distance of both the stadium and Museums on the River. Numerous budget-conscious choices are available beyond the central business district, including the Kansas Inn north of downtown.