Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium
The UNLV baseball program boasts perhaps one of the top 15 best facilities for college baseball. The 3,000-seat Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium at Roger Barnson Field is a beautiful attraction to draw the best teams in college baseball to Las Vegas.
The stadium dedication was held on Saturday, January 29, 1994, in conjunction with the UNLV Alumni game. A crowd of 2,500 attended the game and grand opening ceremonies.
A gift of $1.2 million was used for the construction of Wilson Stadium. The total gift of $6.6 million was donated from the estate of the late Earl and Hazel Wilson.
The Wilsons, married for more than 50 years, came to Las Vegas in the 1930's and were involved in a number of Las Vegas business ventures. Earl Wilson held a Nevada gaming license since 1948 and was a major stockholder in the Golden Nugget Hotel. He once played semi-professional baseball in Oregon and was an avid golfer.
"Earl was a big baseball fan," Mel Wolzinger, who is the co-trustee of the Wilson Estate, said. "Baseball was one of his great loves. It's a great honor to have his name associated with this outstanding facility. This stadium is a first class facility which symbolizes the first class people that Earl and Hazel were.
"The Wilsons were involved in the Las Vegas community for more than 50 years. It's a great tribute that they could help the University of Nevada, Las Vegas both academically and athletically with this donated gift."
Ground was broken on August 2, 1993. The stadium was completed in January of 1994. The stadium features two types of seats - 2,500 theater-type seats and 500 bleacher-back seats; paved parking for 400 cars; a 60-foot enclosed press box; restrooms for fans; concession areas; new backstop; new public address system; batter's eye in centerfield; and stadium entrance complete with handicap access (tunnel and ramp).
The UNLV baseball program will begin its 27th season playing on the baseball diamond, which is situated on the northwest corner of the campus.
Originally named Hustlin' Rebel Field, the ballpark's official stadium dedication was held on April 1, 1973 when the USC Trojans defeated the Rebels 9-2 in front of nearly 1,500 fans.
From 1980-93, the ballpark was named in honor of the late UNLV assistant athletic director, Roger Barnson. An avid baseball supporter and former mound ace at Arizona State University, Barnson lost his life in an automobile accident on March 14, 1980.
Television came to the UNLV baseball diamond in May of 1977 when the University of Hawaii televised a three-game series with UNLV.
In May of 1977, the stadium attendance record was set when over 5,000 people jammed Rebel Field to watch the Kenny Rogers Celebrity-News Media Softball Game benefiting the Nevada Special Olympics.
UNLV's career home record through 26 seasons at Barnson Field is 672-350-1 (.657). Over the past 21 years at home (1978-98), the Rebels have compiled a 572-270-1 record (.679), including a 34-6 record (.850) in 1996.
Night baseball came to UNLV when lights were installed in June, 1982. The lights consist of eight standards, with a total of 144 fixtures, with 1,500 watt metal halide. The total cost of the lights was $180,000 and were installed by Stratton Electric of Las Vegas.
In July of 1984, the infield grass was replaced with Santa Ana Hybrid. The infield dirt was replaced with crushed brick added with a powder stabilizer from Phoenix, Arizona. In August of 1997, the infield was replaced with Aquarius soil underneath, and the infield dirt is from Las Vegas rock infield mix. In January of 1997, the outfield fence was replaced with a 12-foot high chain linked fence, 8-foot of which is green tarp and the top four feet will display advertisting.
In September of 1984, a $155,000 scoreboard was installed by Young Electric Sign Company beyond the left field fence. The scoreboard stands 35 feet high with "message grams" on both sides of the board.
Former Head Coach Fred Dallimore had worked on the project for two years. Dallimore helped negotiate a lease purchase arrangement with Young Electric Sign Company. "The one item I would like to stress is that the scoreboard will not take anything away from the educational dollars that the state provides for the University," Dallimore, in 1984, said.
The scoreboard displays a variety of messages, including public service announcements, university activities, and advertising. The back panel of the scoreboard has advertising displayed by Coors and the front displayed by Bank of America. The board runs 24 hours a day.
The scoreboard displays computer graphics on the "message gram," with game statistics and the score through 10 innings.
The park dimensions are 335 feet down the left and right field lines, 375 feet in the power alleys, and 400 feet to straightaway centerfield.
Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium Ground Breaking
The ground breaking ceremony for the Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium was held on Thursday, May 27, 1993 at home plate.
Mel Wolzinger and Jay Brown, co-trustees of the Earl and Hazel Mae Wilson Estate, was in attendance along with UNLV President Robert C. Maxson, athletic director Jim Weaver, head baseball coach Fred Dallimore and other local dignitaries.
The largest single gift ever received by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a $6.5 million donation from the estate of the late Hazel Mae Wilson on behalf of her husband, the late Las Vegas businessman Earl E. Wilson, will benefit several areas of the UNLV campus, including athletics.
"We used to recruit on dreams, Dallimore said. "Today (May 27, 1993) this is a reality. This facility will be second to none. This will be something the citizens of Las Vegas and all of Nevada can be proud of."
Of the total gift, $1.2 million was used for the construction of the Earl E. Wilson Baseball Stadium.