"There were very few stadiums in the
world that could compare with the very colorful and beautiful wooden
ballpark that went by two different names… Clark Griffith Park and
from 1971 onward, Jim Crockett Park. The beautiful wooden grandstand
interwoven with steel beams was a marvel when it was completed and
as memorable as it was… would also become its downfall. The history
books are filled with sad stories of these grand wooden ballparks
meeting their hellfire endings at the hands of a tossed match, a
flicked cigarette or even by some very rotten children. This
ballpark's finality would come via the latter."
- Digital Ballparks
Originally called Clark Griffith Park, the
ballpark was renamed Jim Crockett Memorial Park a year after the Crockett
family purchased the minor league Orioles baseball franchise and
brought the team from Asheville NC to Charlotte for the 1976 season. The team was the AA farm affiliate
of the Baltimore Orioles, and played in Charlotte until 1988. The
O's won a couple of Southern League
titles including in a 1980 championship for a team led by Cal Ripken, Jr.
Charlotte had been without baseball since 1972.
Frances Crockett oversaw baseball
operations for the Crockett family business and was the president of
the Charlotte Orioles, and at one time was the commissioner of the
The ballpark was built in 1940 and when
the Orioles began play there, it held over 5,000 fans. Mid-Atlantic Wrestling cards were held there occasionally.
It was destroyed by fire on March 16, 1985.
The ballpark was renamed
from Clark Griffith Park to Jim Crockett Memorial Park in June of
1977. The clippings below for two outstanding Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
events on 5/30/77 and 6/12/77 reflect the name change.
See dozens of photos and baseball
history at DigitalBallparks.com
"I love the Crockett Park photos. I
grew up out there with the Crockett kids doing odd jobs starting at
9 years old. Barry Windham worked there for a summer also. Dan
Spivey and Scott Hall were there a little while working on the
ground crew while they were breaking in the biz. The infamous
Klondike Bill telling us stories about the business which no kid's
ears should have heard at that age. We would sit on the picnic
tables - which there is a great photo of - and Klondike would keep
us entertained. GREAT!" - Brad Anderson, 4/14/09
"If I’m not mistaken, Crockett Park in
Charlotte was, for a time, the only wood-framed ballpark in America.
It was certainly the only ballpark in America named for a wrestling
promoter. That was Big Jim Crockett...." - Joe Posnanski.
A luxury residential development called
Olmstead Park now occupies the 12.5 acre site that was Crockett
Park. Houses now sit where the bleachers and grandstands once stood,
and upscale apartments now occupy what had been the infield for the
Crockett Park file photo (black & white
photo above) from the Charlotte Observer, submitted by George South.
Crockett Park interior color photo from
Newspaper clippings and poster image
for 5/30/77 and 6/12/77 Mid-Atlantic shows from the collection
of Greg Price.
Olmstead Park photo (Crockett Park as
it looks today) from
Clay Reality Advisors. Description
of modern day Dilworth Neighborhood from
Charlotte Real Estate News.
Thanks also to Greg Price for his
assistance with information for this feature on Crockett Park.
Arial photo from 1965, Crockett Park can be seen in the center of
the photo, South Blvd to it's left.