Review by Gary
Built in 1935 by Thomasville Furniture, Finch Field was home to eight minor league baseball teams from 1937–1969. Hall of Famers Curt Flood, Eddie Matthews and Al Rosen graced this historic diamond for the Hi-Toms in Thomasville, North Carolina. Having fled Finch Field in 1969 for greener pastures, professional baseball abandoned this ballpark along the National Highway and left a decaying grandstand and a disinterested fan base. After years of neglect and minimal use, Finch Field’s grandstand and locker room facilities succumbed to the flames of arson in 1983.
Finch Field was renovated in 2002, 2005, and 2007 and bears little resemblance to the original ballfield. Championship banners and those honoring famous Hi-Toms players and managers hang from the new metal grandstand while photos of teams from the 1950s line the walls of the ticket windows, paying respect to those who once graced these hallowed grounds.
Named after the towns of High Point and Thomasville, the Hi-Toms of the Coastal Plain League proudly took the name of their long-ago baseball ancestors and marched into Finch Field in 1999. A scoreboard past the left field fence was built during the 1950s and has recently been renovated. The park’s oldest and most notable feature from the past, the scoreboard is actually part of a slender room where the scoreboard operator sits and updates the line score manually from behind.
The outfield features a unique warning track, which isn’t a track at all but rather an embankment, steep in the left-field corner and then tapering to a slight embankment in right field, making fielding the ball a potential adventure for the outfielders.
A fun fact about Finch Field: The 1965 Hi-Toms home opener marked the return of pro ball to the city after a seven-year absence. Thomasville Mayor James Johnson headlined the occasion by beaning the reigning Miss North Carolina in the neck with an errant ceremonial first pitch in front of an estimated 6,000 fans. Being the champion she was, Miss North Carolina merely rubbed some dirt on the shiner and took first base.