MSU officially opens new Dudy Noble Field, unveils ‘Thunder and Lightning’ statues

Contact: James Carskadon

Photo by Logan Kirkland

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The standard has been raised in college baseball as Mississippi State University officially opened the new Dudy Noble Field with a grand opening ceremony Friday [Feb. 15] before the 2019 season opener against Youngstown State.

Cutting the ribbon on the $68 million facility is MSU President Mark E. Keenum. From left, are MSU Athletic Director John Cohen, Bulldog baseball legend Will Clark, project benefactors Dana and Charlie Stephenson, Voice of the Diamond Dawgs Jim Ellis, benefactor Richard Adkerson, Keenum, Bulldog baseball legend Rafael Palmeiro, former MSU baseball coach Ron Polk, benefactors Babs and Mickey Holliman, and Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustee members Hal Parker and Bruce Martin.

Celebrating the new “Thunder and Lightning” statues unveiled at Friday’s [Feb. 15] event are, from left, Dudy Noble Field project benefactor Richard Adkerson, Bulldog baseball legend Will Clark, MSU President Mark E. Keenum, Bulldog baseball legend Rafael Palmeiro, Voice of the Diamond Dawgs Jim Ellis, and MSU Athletic Director John Cohen. (Photo by Logan Kirkland)

Keenum thanked those who helped make the project possible, including IHL trustees and the many financial supporters of the stadium.

“This stadium was built by you, our fans, who have a love and passion for Mississippi State,” Keenum said.

As part of Friday’s festivities, MSU also unveiled two statues of “Thunder and Lightning,” Bulldog baseball legends Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro. The statues were sculpted and donated by Dr. Rusty Reid, an MSU alumnus and Brookhaven dentist. Both Clark and Palmeiro, whose college careers elevated the status of MSU and college baseball in the 1980s, were on hand for the opening of the new Dudy Noble Field.

On Saturday [Feb. 16], MSU will dedicate the Richard Adkerson Plaza at Dudy Noble Field and hold an induction ceremony for the Ron Polk Ring of Honor, which pays tribute to past Bulldog baseball greats. Saturday’s ceremony will take place between the two games scheduled as part of a doubleheader with Youngstown State. The first game will begin at noon.

For more on the new Dudy Noble Field and opening weekend festivities, visit

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Photo by Logan Kirkland

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 2:31 pm