War Memorial Stadium

  • 1925: Former UNC player, McDaniel Lewis, proposed a new stadium to the city council to replace Cone Park, which was built in 1902.
  • Nov. 11, 1926: War Memorial Stadium dedication. Columns supporting the main entrance hold bronze tablets inscribed with 138 Guilford County World War I dead. The new stadium had 8,500 concrete-cast seats and costed $160,000. The venue provided a place for professional and college baseball in summer, high school and college football in the fall and various levels of track and field in the spring. The community also had access to tennis courts and picnic facilities located beyond the outfield fence.
  • April 5, 1927: First baseball game played: Wake Forest 2, N.C. State 1.
  • April 24, 1930: Greensboro Patriots played first game after a roof over the grandstand, a press box and dugouts were added
  • July 18, 1930: Lights turned on for the first time. 5,500 fans watched Patriots lose to the Raleigh Caps 22-6. Box seats were $1, reserved seats 75 cents and general admission 50 cents. Future Hall of Famer, Hank Greenberg played for the Caps in that game.
  • 1947: Patriots drew 150,000 fans to Greensboro – 3 times the population of Greensboro.
  • 1950: Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers played an exhibition game that attracted 8,434 spectators.
  • 1975: City began replacing old wooden bleachers with aluminum seats.
  • 1977: New grandstand roof installed.
  • 1979: Minor league baseball returned to Greensboro with the Greensboro Hornets.
  • 1982: City backed off a promise to install new higher lights. From 1979 – 1982 Greensboro spent $400,000 to $500,000 on stadium seating, restrooms, concession stands and other facilities.
  • 1986: Two sections of stands beyond the left fence were removed, reducing the seating to 7,500.
  • 1989: Larry Schmittou, Hornets owner sold the team to Steve Bryant for $900,000. City Council agreed to spend $108,000 to build a kitchen and improve lighting. The Hornet’s rent was increased to $15,000 per year.
  • 1990: Locker rooms enlarged; additional kitchen and concessions facilities were built behind third-base.
  • June 1990: Four of the top amateur teams in the world meet at War Memorial Stadium for the first Great Asian-American Challenge Cup tournament.
  • July 1990: The Great Asian-American Challenge Cup tournament, featuring four of the top amateur teams in the world, began final-round play. Team USA won 3-2.
  • Sept 1990: Stadium hosted the United States Slo-Pitch Softball Association (USSSA) Men's Major World Series Championship.
  • 1991: Greensboro Hornets drew 186,434 to the stadium to lead the South Atlantic League for the 13th straight year. Owner Steve Bryant offered the team for sale, asking $3 million.1994: Name changed to Greensboro Bats.
  • 1992-93: Derek Jeter played 139 games for the Greensboro Hornets. During the 1993 season, he batted .295 with 56 errors.
  • 1994: Name changed to Greensboro Bats.
  • November 1994: The City Council agreed to study building a new minor-league baseball stadium.
  • March 1995: The City Council opposed using public money for a new stadium.
  • May 1995: Greensboro Bats owners offered to build a $15 million stadium and share costs with the city.
  • August 1995: Local business leaders unveiled a plan to recruit a Major League Baseball team to the Triad.
  • July 1996: Bats owners petitioned the council again for a new stadium.
  • November 1996: Voters rejected a $2 million referendum to rehabilitate Memorial Stadium.
  • 1997 -1998: Greensboro business leaders proposed buying Minnesota Twins and building a new stadium near Kernersville.
  • May 5, 1998: Voters in Guilford and Forsyth rejected a new tax to pay for a Major League Baseball stadium, ending attempts to recruit the Twins.
  • June 23, 1999: a local group of business leaders bought the Bats franchise and pledged to study prospects for a new stadium.
  • Aug 2000: The New York Yankees sent termination letter to Bats, retaining an option to renew the agreement.
  • 2001: New York Yankees file paperwork to terminate relationship with Bats.
  • Apr. 11, 2001: City Manager Ed Kitchen hired a consulting firm to study several city sporting venues, including Memorial Stadium.
  • May 2001: The U.S. Department of the Interior placed the stadium, believed to be the nation’s oldest active minor-league park, on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2003: Greensboro voters authorize building a ballpark in downtown, construction begins for eventual home of Greensboro Grasshoppers.
  • April 3, 2005: The $21.5 million First Horizon Park (now known as NewBridge Bank Park) opens .
  • 2007: Some scenes of the movie, “Leatherheads” were filmed at the War Memorial Stadium. The movie, staring George Clooney and Renée Zellweger opened in April, 2008. Duncan Brantley, a former Greensboro resident, wrote the “Leatherheads” screenplay.
Source: News & Record Archive
Compiled by Diane Lamb, News & Record Researcher
Also See Baseball Stadium

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