War Memorial Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina, was opened in 1926. From 1930 until 2004, the ballpark was the home to a Greensboro’s minor league baseball teams.
The ballpark’s first minor league tenants were the Greensboro Patriots, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Over the years, the major league affiliated teams that made War Memorial their home included the Red Sox, the Pirates, and the Yankees, through 1968. The Greensboro Red Wings, a minor Negro Leagues team, also played at War Memorial in the late 1940’s. After a ten year absence, in 1979, professional baseball returned to War Memorial when the Greensboro Hornets of the South Atlantic League began play. That team had the longest uninterrupted stretch of professional baseball at War Memorial, with the Hornets, later named the Bats, playing at the ballpark through the 2004 season.
In 2005, Greensboro’s minor league team moved to a new stadium located just one mile west of War Memorial Stadium. The team changed its name as well, to the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
War Memorial Stadium is dedicated “In Memory Of All Those Of Guilford County Who Made The Supreme Sacrifice In The World War.”
On either side of the main entrance to the stadium are large bronze plaques listing the names of people from Guilford County who died in World War I. The plaques also state: “They Served That Liberty May Not Perish From The Earth.”
Although professional baseball has left, the game is still played at War Memorial Stadium. These pictures of the ballpark were taken in July 2010 during the Metropolitan Junior Baseball League Classic Tournament.
In addition, the ballpark still hosts college baseball. It is the home field of both North Carolina A&T University and Greensboro College.
In July 2014, the Greensboro Yankees held a reunion at War Memorial Stadium. Ike Futch, an infielder for the Greensboro Yankees in 1961, was kind enough to send me pictures of the reunion.
The Greensboro Yankees also gathered inside the clubhouse. Around the table (clock wise) Johnny Smith (bat boy in 1961), Rudy Serrett, Jeff and Laura Womack’s daughters (Dooley Womack’s grandchildren), Butch Cretara, Ike Futch, Dooley Womack, Chuck Boone, Art Lopez, Unknown Local Sports Writer, Brian Dunphy (Producer, Channel 8, Greensboro Community TV), Judie Paul, Attonia Lopez, and Ron Paul.
The craftsmanship that went into building War Memorial is evident throughout the ballpark.
A covered grandstand constructed of steel and concrete anchors the ballpark.
The view of the playing field from the grandstand harkens back to an earlier era.
War Memorial made a cameo appearance in the 1989 movie Bull Durham, which was filmed primarily at Durham Athletic Park. About midway through the movie the team bus pulls up to the front entrance of War Memorial.
In addition, the locker room scenes in Bull Durham supposedly were filmed inside War Memorial’s locker room, including the late Trey Wilson’s famous “lollygag” scene. Apparently the locker rooms at Durham Athletic Park, where much of the movie was filmed, were considerably smaller.
With it’s major tenant gone since 2005, War Memorial has fallen into disrepair
Although the field is still maintained, the stadium structure itself shows signs of neglect.
In recent years there has been talk about tearing down War Memorial Stadium. However, the City of Greensboro has decided to renovate the stadium as part of a revitalization plan for the area surrounding the ballpark.
Although some parts of the ballpark have been demolished, such as some of the stands along third base and near left field, the future certainly seems brighter now for the ballpark. Perhaps now, with the help of the City of Greensboro, War Memorial Stadium will not become just another lost ballpark.