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Preserving Baseball Memories Of North Carolina’s Tobacco State League

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Courtesy of Chris Holaday
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Smithfield 1946

Eastern North Carolina’s Tobacco State League only lasted for five seasons. From 1946 to 1950 teams including the Sanford Spinners and the Lumberton Auctioneers battled for baseball greatness and ticket sales. They entertained crowds eager for a return to normalcy after World War II. Many of the players had recently returned from war, others were college baseball stars, and still others were just hoping to make a better hourly wage than they could earn in the local mills.

 

In his book “The Tobacco State League: A North Carolina Baseball History” (McFarland/2017), Chris Holaday gives the context and history behind the teams and paints a picture of the short-lived league. Host Frank Stasio talks with Holaday about his book and the characters who reveal what the Tobacco State League meant to its players and fans.

Jennifer Brookland is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow. She covers stories about the military and veterans as well as issues affecting the people and places of North Carolina.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.