Our Baseball Roots Run Deep
On the 40th anniversary of the AA baseball Charlotte O’s, Jim Crockett Promotions was honored by the AAA baseball Charlotte Knights at the BB&T Ballpark on September 4th, 2016. We’re very excited to announce that this was the 1st annual Crockett Foundation Night at the ballpark. Be sure to get the announcement for the next annual event by following us on Facebook.
It was very sweet, and a special honor bringing back lots of memories too, that Frances Crockett was inducted into the Charlotte Knights Roundtable of Honor. We’re tickled that we were able to bring Eddie Murray back to Carolina for the AAA baseball event – and he threw the first pitch. We had a great time!
For excellent photos of the inaugural Crockett Foundation Night event check out this special AAA Home Run Derby 2016 folder on our Facebook page. You can take a look at all of our Crockett Foundation Videos on our YouTube page.
Here’s some history on how we arrived at where we are today. Professional baseball dates back to 1901 in Charlotte. The stadium that would become Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Park was originally built in 1940 by Clark Griffith for the Charlotte Hornets.
- The Charlotte Hornets were renamed the Charlotte Twins, a AA baseball farm team for the AAA baseball Minnesota Twins, in 1972 but the Minnesota Twins dropped their affiliation with the team that same year.
- Baseball was brought back to Charlotte by Jim Crockett, Jr., David Crockett, Jackie Crockett and Frances Crockett Ringley. The Crockett family bought the AA baseball affiliate of the AAA baseball Baltimore Orioles in Asheville. They moved the Asheville Orioles to Charlotte in 1976 – changing the team name to the Charlotte O’s – and renovated the wooden ballpark which seated 5,000.
- The Charlotte O’s games became a staple in Charlotte under the creative and watchful eye of its General Manager, Frances Crockett Ringley. Her promotional flair made coming to a ball game an event – not just a night at a baseball game. (For a great story about Frances making the executive decision to use her high heels as a reliable determinant of just what condition the baseball field was in, check out the Woman In Heels article. A fun fact in Charlotte history.)
- In March 1985, the wooden ballpark was burned to the ground by juveniles after a high school baseball tournament. A 3,000 seat makeshift stadium was erected by the Crockett Family and the Charlotte O’s games were held there for another 3 years. In 1988 the team was sold by the Crockett Family.
The Crockett Family saw hundreds of baseball players, managers and coaches come through the doors of Crockett Park but they weren’t there just to play a game. Many of those team members became extended members of the Crockett family. The family helped plan weddings for them at a local park, babysat their children and had cookouts after Sunday games so that the players always knew they had support both professionally and personally in the front office.
The Crocketts also made sure that the players were involved in the community. They held junior baseball clinics so that kids could be pros for a day. The players went to schools and hospitals in an effort to give back to the community that some of them still call home today.
The honors we shared in September 2016 with the Charlotte Knights at the 1st annual Crockett Foundation Night created memories that we’ll enjoy for a lifetime. At this baseball charity inaugural event, our friends and family were there – and we’d love to see you there next year too! Be sure to get the announcement for next year’s baseball charity event by following our Facebook page.
On July 11th 2016 the Crockett Foundation helped everyone celebrate a bit of Charlotte baseball history at the Charlotte Knights 2016 Triple-A Home Run Derby. As a baseball charity we’re proud to have partnered with Sergeant Slaughter, WWF World Heavyweight Champion (1991). We brought in the Sergeant as the celebrity captain, pairing him with Kyle Jensen of the AAA baseball Arizona Diamond Backs.
We’re forever grateful to the Sergeant for helping us get the word out that our mission is to focus on helping smaller 501c3 non-profit Veterans charities to reach audiences through our network of supporters and fan. The Sergeant’s varied career spanned 40 years. Fun facts include his key role in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series, a toy line, an animated television series, and comic books. As a Sergeant, Sgt. Slaughter is near and dear to the Crockett Foundation’s mission to help Veterans.
To read our special articles about US Military Veterans and the military dogs we’re helping check out our Blog page. To get yourself a Crockett Foundation baseball bat keychain check out our store here.
Thank you, all of you, for your continued support and friendship over the years. You make our community what it is today and we love you for it. We’re wishing you the best and look forward to seeing you at a Crockett Foundation event soon!