Sharon J. Drysdale Field
Sharon J. Drysdale Field, home to Northwestern Softball since the early days of legendary coach and field namesake Sharon J. Drysdale's tenure, is the Wildcats own little Wrigley on the North Shore. With ivy growing plentiful on the walls of adjacent McGaw Hall and spectator seating close to the action, the gameday experience at "The J" is fun for all ages.
Previously called Anderson Field, the ballpark was re-named for NFCA Hall of Fame mentor Sharon J. Drysdale upon her retirement in 2001. Five years later, the ballpark underwent a three-year, multiple phase renovation. In 2006, completely new outfield turf was installed, leading ESPN.com to proclaim "the facility and softball staff both earned rave reviews for staging the Big Ten Tournament..." following that season's conference tournament.
After playing host to NCAA Tournament Regionals and Super Regionals in both 2006 and 2007, Drysdale Field's final renovation phase (including sunken dugouts, permanent seating, a game operations booth and a plaza down the third-base line) was completed. The project, made possible by the generosity and efforts of many program friends and donors, gives Chicagoland fans a unique and exciting place to watch the best college softball in the nation.
In 2008, after again hosting a successful Big Ten Tournament, Drysdale Field was selected as the College winner of the 2008 Stabilizer Solutions/NFCA Field Maintenance Award, an honor that recognizes outstanding grounds maintenance and quality playing surfaces.
The Purple Cow
While gathered in the dugout during NU's 2006 spring break trip to Hawaii, Northwestern head coach Kate Drohan introduced the team to the theory of "The Purple Cow." Taken from a marketing book of the same name by Seth Godin, the Purple Cow is a symbol to remind the team to be remarkable in all that it does. Intended initially by Drohan to be a small phase in the 2006 season, the theme grew so popular within the program that it has become a permanent fixture and symbol for Northwestern Softball.
At the inaugural Purple Auction in April of 2007, the parents of the 2007 team purchased and donated a Purple Cow to be displayed at the brand new Sharon J. Drysdale Field. The Purple Cow has had many homes over the years, but is a permanent fixture at the Ballpark.
The Roof Club
Few clubs in sports are as small or exclusive as Northwestern's Sharon J. Drysdale Field Roof Club. Just six players, including current senior Marisa Bast and junior Olivia Duehr, are members after homering onto the roof of McGaw Hall, which houses Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena and borders NU's softball park beyond left field. In the 33-year history of Sharon J. Drysdale Field, only eight fair home runs balls have reached the roof of the building--and all eight of those blasts have come since 2007 off the bats of NU players:
- Jessica Miller vs. Michigan (March 31, 2007)
- Nicole Pauly vs. Indiana (April 4, 2009, game 1 of DH)
- Erin Dyer vs. Indiana (April 4, 2009, game 2 of DH)
- Adrienne Monka vs. Minnesota (April 14, 2010)
- Olivia Duehr vs. Iowa (April 7, 2012)
- Adrienne Monka vs. Ohio State (April 29, 2012)
- Olivia Duehr vs. Notre Dame (April 9, 2013)
- Marisa Bast vs. Indiana (April 18, 2014)