In a new series I will pay attention to several ballparks all over the world, just because they are worth the attention. This series will be a mix of posts about brand new stadiums with all the bells and whistles, old stadiums from yesteryear and everything that is in between.
Grainger stadium was the home of many baseball teams in the past. The last team that played there were the Kinston Indians, that left for Zebulon NC, to become the Carolina Mudcats (the A Advanced version).
Grainger Stadium opened its doors in 1949 as it served as the homefield for the Kinston Eagles. According to a plaque the ballpark is called “Municipal Stadium” but since the day that the ballpark opened it is called Granger Stadium as it is named after Jesse W. Grainger, a reconstruction-era leader (the period after the Civil War) who developed the region’s tobacco farming industry and initially donated the land on which the ballpark is now located on to the community for public schools.
The construction of the ballpark cost 170,000 USD, of which 150,000 USD was raised by selling bonds.
The city owned stadium is currently the second oldest stadium in the Carolina League. Currently since the ballpark will be the (temporary) home of the Rangers’ A-Advanced affiliated that ceased activities in Adelanto CA. With the new team coming to the Carolina League, Grainger Stadium will get some upgrades: A new concession stand on the third base line, repainting the stadium itself, updating the field lighting and putting pads on the outfield walls for player safety.
The dimensions of Grainger Stadium are 335 ft down each foul line and 390 ft down the center field wall.
The current seating capacity of Grainger Stadium is 4,100. This includes a covered grandstand that is partially protected by netting, uncovered metal bleachers down the third base line, and several rows of uncovered seating along the first base line. There are also several box seats that are located in front of the regular seats of the grand stand. These box seats are separated from each other by metal piping and the seats itself are nothing more than plastic folding chairs. The big advantage of these box seats is that you sit literally next to the field, close to the action. In the days of segregation, there was a special part of the grandstand with metal bleachers was reserved for afro american baseball fans.
Grainger Stadium is a typical old school ballpark with steel beams that support the roof and that cause an obstructed view at some places.
Through the years the stadium had several upgrades to keep pace with the modern facilities of the Carolina League. Eventually it did not stop the Kinston Indians from moving to Zebulon NC.
Granger Stadium is one of those little gems. It is a rather simple stadium made for the game of baseball without the distractions of modern ballparks. Let’s hope that the ballpark will be spared after the new Kinston minor league team will move to its new ballpark in 2019.
After the Kinston Indians left, the ballpark was used for several other events than baseball. Nevertheless the Freedom Classic is held in February, games between the Air Force and Navy acadamies.
Ramp to the grandstand (photo: careeringcrawdad.wordpress.com)