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Explore San Antonio's Nelson Wolff Stadium

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@BensBiz
August 29, 2022

Welcome to Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, known primarily as The Wolff. Make it your "Mission" to visit this San Antonio ballpark, home of the San Diego Padres' Double-A affiliate. The food here can be spicy; the mascot always is.

San Antonio Missions (Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres since 2021)
Established: 1968
League: Texas League (1968-2018, 2021-present)
Ballpark: Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium (opened 1994, as San Antonio Municipal Stadium)
Championships: 1997, 2002-03, 2007, 2011, 2013
Notable Alumni: Fernando Valenzuela, Adrián Beltré, Mike Piazza, Dennis Eckersley, Pedro Martinez, Orel Hershiser, Félix Hernández, Fernando Tatis, Jr.

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The first iteration of the Texas League was established in 1888, with San Antonio as one of its charter members. Since then, more often than not, San Antonio has fielded a team within this venerable circuit. The first squad named the Missions debuted in 1933; the moniker is a reference to the Spanish missions constructed along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. One of these, the Mission San Antonio de Valero, is now more commonly known as the Alamo.

San Antonio has fielded a Minor League team in every season since 1968, when they returned to the Texas League after a four-year absence. The Missions shifted briefly to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2019 before returning to the Texas League in 2021 as part of a larger reorganization of Minor League Baseball. That 2021 campaign marked the (re)start of San Antonio's affiliation with the San Diego Padres, whom they had partnered with from 2007-18. This was preceded by five years with Seattle (2001-06) and a lengthy run (1977-2000) with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium

Ballpark Location (via Google Maps)
San Antonio Missions Schedule
San Antonio Missions Roster

5757 US 90 W
San Antonio, TX 78227
(210) 675-7275

Capacity: 9,200
Dimensions: left field, 310 feet; center field, 402 feet; right field, 340 feet

More Ballpark Guides >>

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Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium is a mouthful of a name, which is why it's commonly known as "The Wolff." It opened in 1994, and is now the only Texas League stadium that predates the 21st century. Originally known as San Antonio Municipal Stadium, the ballpark was renamed in 1996 in honor of the longtime San Antonio politician (and current judge), who served as mayor during the time of its construction and opening.

The Wolff is situated along Highway 90, some eight miles to the west of downtown San Antonio. There is ample parking and plenty of room to wander around (and within) the ballpark, which are the benefits of its comparatively isolated location. Planes flying in and out of nearby Lackland Air Force Base are a common sight. Lackland is one of four military bases in the city, resulting in a fan base comprised of many former and active service members.

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San Antonio has a majority Hispanic population. The Missions have had great success in recent years with their "Flying Chanclas" Copa de la Diversión identity, suiting up as such on select dates throughout the season. This moniker pays tribute to the sandal-throwing discipline technique long employed by abuelitas (grandmothers).

The Wolff's main entrance is flanked by two beige bell towers, evoking the architectural style of the missions for which the team is named. The seating bowl is comprised of 6,200 seats, with room for additional fans on a spacious grass berm in left field. The multi-level seating bowl is bisected by a concourse and bookended by bleachers on both sides. An external concourse wraps around the outside of the ballpark; it is here that one will find the majority of the restroom, concession and souvenir areas.

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A Fiesta Deck is located down the ballpark's left field line, with a Party Pavilion in right. In-between there is a video scoreboard, installed prior to the 2022 season. Another recent addition is the bar located on the first base side of the concourse, the first Wolff Stadium location to sell hard alcohol.

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Concessions

In addition to offering an array of ballpark staples, the Sandlot stand on the first base side of the concourse has Texas Chili Nachos, Footlong Corn Dogs, Grilled PB&J and Frito Pies.

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Visit the Dog House for specialty items such as the Quesadilla Dog (a hot dog served on a tortilla and topped with pico de gallo, jalapeños and sour cream). Even spicier is the disturbingly incandescent Flamin' Hot Cheetos Dog, with a layer of nacho cheese set in-between the hot dog and incendiary Cheetos. For dessert consider Funnel Cake Fries, available plain or with toppings.

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Mascots

No mascot measures higher on the Scoville scale than Ballapeño, an anthropomorphic chili pepper with a suitably spicy personality. He is joined at The Wolff by Henry the Puffy Taco, am ambassador for nearby restaurant Henry's Puffy Tacos. Henry returned to the Missions in 2022 after a three-year absence, an occasion resulting in great joy among the San Antonio citizenry.

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Local Attractions

A visit to see the San Antonio Missions can be paired with a visit to the San Antonio Missions. It just makes sense. The non-baseball San Antonio Missions are run by the National Park Service, and feature four locations (Mission Concepción, Mission San José , Mission San Juan and Mission Espada). These communities were built by Spanish colonizers with the goal of converting the indigenous population to their religion and way of life.

Remember the Alamo? Before it became the site of the most pivotal battle in the Texas Revolution, the Alamo was a Spanish mission. Tour the church, interact with actors portraying key participants and marvel at the Alamo artifacts that were donated by Phil Collins (yes, that Phil Collins).

The San Antonio River Walk is the city's top tourist destination, a pedestrian-only street filled with restaurants, shops, natural beauty and points of historical interest. For further aquatic-based activity, visit SeaWorld San Antonio and/or the San Antonio Aquarium.

If you're traveling to or from San Antonio by car, you'll probably see billboards for Buc-ee's. Prepare for sensory overload if you stop at one of these massive travel centers, which claim to have the "cleanest restrooms in America." While you're there, stock up on Beaver Nuggets and beef jerky.

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FOOD AND DRINK

After seeing Henry the Puffy Taco at a Missions game, the logical next step is to visit the establishment he represents. Henry's Puffy Tacos specializes in, you guessed it, puffy tacos. (The tortillas are briefly submerged in hot oil, resulting in their signature puffiness). Pinkerton's is a popular choice for barbecue, known in particular for its brisket.

The Pearl District, located in a former industrial area, has dozens of restaurants. There are many options along the aforementioned San Antonio River Walk as well.

Lodging

There are plenty of hotels in close proximity to The Wolff, particularly along Highway 90 to the west of the ballpark (many of these cater to those visiting Lackland Air Force Base). There are hundreds of other options, of course, with swankier (and therefore pricier) accommodations along the River Walk.

Moving On

San Antonio is among a foursome of south Texas Minor League teams that, when viewed on a state map, appear in the shape of a baseball diamond. Home plate is the Corpus Christi Hooks, with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys on first, the Round Rock Express on second and the Missions on third. Round the bases with a road trip incorporating each of these teams.

The Road to San Diego

The Padres system begins in Lake Elsinore, located 75 miles from San Diego. From there farmhands head to Fort Wayne before advancing to a pair of Texas locales.

Low-A: Lake Elsinore Storm
High-A: Fort Wayne TinCaps
Double-A: San Antonio Missions
Triple-A: El Paso Chihuahuas

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credits: Benjamin Hill, who covers the business and culture of Minor League Baseball, has visited 186 Minor League ballparks.