Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Best of MPTLL #6: Fields and Facilities

Myers Park Trinity Little League is blessed to call Randolph Park its home. The Marshall-Caudle Little League Complex is the result of a little luck and a lot of hard work. It began to take shape after three decades of play on borrowed land across Randolph Road.

Here is what the area looked like in 1961. In that satellite image, E.C. Griffith Field is at the top left section of the photo. Caudle Field would be built just to its north many years later. What we now use and call "Grier Heights #1" is top right, directly across Randolph Road. At the bottom left is the old Culp Field, our Pony League / Babe Ruth field, before it became overgrown with ivy-covered outfield fences. And at the bottom right portion of the photo is the farmland that would become Randolph Park. Wade Field now sits directly across the street from where Culp Field once was.

When Lloyd Caudle, Tom Marshall and other volunteers secured the use of the Mecklenburg County land that is now Randolph Park in the early 1980's, it was originally constructed with two Little League fields and a Babe Ruth field. The Little League fields had dirt infields, no mounds and no outfield fences. Their were no bleachers - only a long concrete slab on each side of the backstop for fans to sit on. The dugouts had no roofs. There was a two-sided wooden scoreboard between the fields along a dirt walking path, which led to a small cinder-block concession stand (now "Billy's Building"). The fields were called Randolph East and West (later Kiser-Chapman) Fields, and they are still in use today.

Al Browne manager George Carver, Randolph East 3B dugout, 1983.

Home plate for the Babe Ruth field was located near the current right field fence of Wade Field. The left field fence of "the big field" is still there today, separating the Founders Field bullpen and our newest tee ball field. The curved foot print of the entire outfield fence remains today.

When the E.C. Griffith company finally needed to develop its land on the west side of Randolph Road in the mid-1990's, Myers Park Trinity turned the Babe Ruth field into replacements for E.C. Griffith and Caudle Fields:  Founders Field, dedicated to those who founded and developed our league, and Wade Field, in honor of long-time Harry & Bryant coach Jake Wade. Construction of tee ball fields, a concession stand and maintenance building, along with improvements to the Grier Heights Fields would follow. Our Junior League began using Independence Park near Memorial Stadium, which is now a great setting for Babe Ruth games.

The next phase will be what our capital campaign is all about - the construction of a stadium at our newest Little League field at Randolph Park. "New Field" is already perhaps the finest youth field in Charlotte. It will one day have the seating and facilities to match.

None of what MPTLL has built and maintained over the years would be possible without a completely dedicated group of volunteers. Our current grounds crew, led by Tony McNay and Boyd Correll deserves a big "thank you" from every parent that signs their child up to play ball at our park. The tireless, year-round work they do is nothing short of amazing. We are incredibly lucky to have them and the volunteers who help them. Without Tony, Boyd, Kip Kiser, Tom Marshall, Lloyd Caudle and many others, we don't have this.... it's a beautiful place:

Wade Field, Summer 2012

In case you missed it.....

Best of MPTLL #1: Community Atmosphere.

Best of MPTLL #2: Dedicated Coaches.

Best of MPTLL #3: Versatility.

Best of MPTLL #4: History and Tradition.

Best of MPTLL #5:  Volunteers.

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