The gleaming uptown ballpark overcame years of legal challenges. The baseball-blocking lawyer wanted the game in Charlotte - but only the Major League game. Then called BB&T Ballpark, it opened to 10,231 on April 11, 2014.
The move returned baseball to the Queen City after an arson-fueled move to a suburb that happened to be in another state. Less than a month before the 1985 professional baseball season, Jim Crockett, Sr., Memorial Park burned to the ground after a high-school baseball game. Investigators found that a group of juveniles set the blaze. The burnt ballpark, originally called Clark Griffith Park, had hosted baseball since 1941.
The displaced ballclub, a member of the Double-A Southern League, quickly built a temporary ballpark on the same site. The makeshift, 3,000-seat facility never drew well and the Crockett family sold the club to the owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, George Shinn, after the 1987 season. Shinn also built a temporary ballpark, but with a long-term purpose: located across the state line in Fort Mill, SC, it went up on what would become the parking lot of the permanent stadium he then built.
In Knights Castle - later renamed Knights Stadium - the Charlotte Knights initially drew well, more than doubling attendance from 1989 to 1992. The next season, a Triple-A expansion club took over the Castle and became the first Charlotte pro baseball club ever to draw 400,000. That proved to be a one-season thing, though, as the Knights gradually slid to the bottom of International League attendance.
Eventually, the team, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County put together a deal to bring baseball back downtown and rammed it through the legal challenges. The new stadium is less than two blocks from Bank of America Stadium, the home of the NFL's Charlotte Panthers, and only seven from the Hornets' Spectrum Center - and just two miles from the old Crockett site.
BB&T Ballpark's name changed after BB&T and SunTrust banks merged to become Truist Bank in 2019.
|Current ballparks in the International League|
|Southeast Division||Midwest Division||Northeast Division|
|AutoZone Park | Bragan Field at 121 Financial Ballpark | Coolray Field | Durham Bulls Athletic Park | First Horizon Park | Harbor Park | Truist Field||CHS Field | Fifth Third Field | Huntington Park | Louisville Slugger Field | Principal Park | Victory Field | Werner Park||Coca-Cola Park | Frontier Field | NBT Bank Stadium | PNC Field | Polar Park | Sahlen Field|