Duane Banks Field – Iowa Hawkeyes
Hawkeye Baseball at Duane Banks Field
Duane Banks Field, originally the Iowa baseball field, opened in 1974 when Duane Banks was the manager. The Hawkeyes went on to tie for the Big Ten Conference that season with an 11-4 conference record. Banks was a legendary coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team, taking over in 1970 and remaining head coach until the end of the 1997 season. Banks compiled an 810-575-4 record in his tenure at Iowa and led the Hawkeyes to their only College World Series appearance in 1972. In 2001, the Iowa baseball field was renamed Duane Banks Field. Hawkeye baseball alums include Jim Sundberg, Mike Boddicker, and Wes Obermueller.
Upgrades have been made to the stadium over the years including stadium chair back seats behind home plate in order to entice season ticket holders. Wooden bleachers were replaced with metal bleachers on either side of the stadium seats and fencing and drainage were also improved. Lights were installed in 2002, and paid for by a donation by former Hawkeye and major league pitcher, Cal Eldred. More recently, a new video board was installed over the left field wall. Next on the agenda is new stadium seating and a new press box which will surround left field.
Food & Beverage 2
Duane Banks Field just covers the basics. Hot dogs, brats, and burgers along with nachos, popcorn, pretzels, candy, and ice cream are available. Coke products are the beverages of choice and no alcohol is served. With some quality restaurants in the area, you’re better off just having a snack and something to drink and taking in the good eats around town before or after the game.
You can buy a few products at a sausage stand near the entrance, but the main concession area is on the third base side. When the ballpark is full, be prepared to stand in line for a bit.
The ballpark is aesthetically pleasing. The field is well manicured and trees line your view beyond the outfield wall. Stadium seating is below the press box but is largely for season ticket holders. Until the planned upgrades are made, bleacher seating makes up the rest of the ballpark. There are no bad views anywhere in the ballpark.
During the game, Herky the Hawk makes the rounds entertaining fans and getting them involved in the game, while cheerleaders entertain the crowd between innings. The Hawkeyes have hit on the right balance of in-game entertainment without overdoing it.
Duane Banks Field is located amongst the other sports stadiums on the University of Iowa campus and, frankly, there is nothing to see. However, there is plenty to do and see in Iowa City, all within a few miles of the sports stadiums. If you are looking for somewhere to have a drink before or after the game, the Vine Tavern and Eatery and the Wig and Pen Pizza Pub are directly across Second Street. Wig and Pen offers up some great pizza (go with the thin crust) and the fried pickles are highly recommended.
For those that like the outdoors, there are plenty of parks as the Iowa River runs through Iowa City. The scenery is gorgeous and while plenty of people are out enjoying the weather, the parks don’t seem overcrowded. Less than two miles east are a couple places definitely worth seeing. The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History and the Old Capitol Museum are downtown. The Old Capitol Museum, built in 1840, was where Iowa made the transition to statehood. The old building is well worth seeing and the architecture is tremendous. The Natural History Museum is great for kids. Both have free admission and are well worth a look.
Directly across the street from the Old Capitol Museum is The Airliner Bar. The Airliner has a tremendous atmosphere, plenty of televisions for sports of all kinds, and daily food and drink specials. Airliner has been around for 70+ years, so it’s no surprise to always find it busy.
There are plenty of hotels in the area, with the Hampton Inn being the recommended choice.
An overwhelming majority of fans wear something black or gold (University of Iowa colors) at the games. If you don’t wear those colors, you will certainly stand out in the crowd. The fans are pleasant to any fans of the visiting team. Herky gets the crowd going early and the fans are engaged throughout, which adds to the great college baseball atmosphere. There is usually a good mixture of both students and other fans in attendance.
The field is located a couple miles off I-80. Parking is free and there is plenty of it when there aren’t other bigger sporting events going on concurrently. Duane Banks Field is easy to get in and around. The walkways at the bottom of the seating bowl are wide and there are no problems maneuvering around the seating bowl.
Restrooms are an issue. They are located on the third base side, are not overly large, and could use some upgrades. They are handicap accessible. Much like the concessions, you may be standing in line for a while, but they have added some portable toilets to help a bit.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children. Parking is free. While concessions are a little on the high side, you can still take in a game for a very reasonable price and see some quality college baseball.
A rarity in college baseball, Herky’s Locker Room has a stand behind home plate. Here, you can buy Iowa Hawkeye shirts, hats, and other Hawkeye merchandise.
Iowa has a unique foul ball policy. Foul balls need to be returned. Anyone that does so, has a choice of a few different items from the concession stand.
Iowa City is a fun college town. There is a lot to see, great food options, and plenty of lodging if you’re staying in town. The Hawkeyes are building a quality program and taking in a game at Duane Banks Field provides a fun college baseball atmosphere.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Duane Banks Field is a pleasant place to watch a game. There are no bad seats although sitting on bleachers for the duration of the game can be a little uncomfortable. Herky the Hawk makes his way around the stands, keeping the crowd into the game and trying to entertain the kids at the same time. The walk-up music for the players adds a little to the enjoyment of the game. For those that choose to sit in the grass, the outfield fence is chain link and there is plenty of room to sit and watch the game from the outfield. -James Hilchen, Regional Correspondent (2013)