On this day in 1933: Two semipro teams square off at Wearn Field in what is billed as Charlotte’s first official interracial baseball game.
The Charlotte News reports that Highland Park, a white mill team, beat the North Charlotte Black Yankees 11-10; The Charlotte Observer has the Black Yankees winning 10-7.
On this day in 1926: Babe Ruth visits Charlotte for a spring training exhibition and sets the town on its ear.
Before the game he gives the local press a brief hotel-room interview. Reclining nude beneath a sheet and smoking a large cigar, he remarks on Southern women (“all they were cracked up to be”) and the demands of celebrity (“Not exactly annoying. One gets used to it. Doesn’t one?”).
A crowd of 4,000 jams Wearn Field to see the potent Yankees toy with the Brooklyn Robins (later Dodgers). To give Ruth’s legion of admiring kids a better look, the Yankees move him from right field to left. They swarm out of the stands and spill into the outfield.
In the seventh inning Ruth grants the crowd its wish. In the words of Observer sports columnist Jake Wade: “Ruth had previously singled, but that only whetted the appetite of the hungry mob. They had come from miles around to see Babe Ruth knock a home run. Nothing else would satisfy them.
“The Bambino took his stout stand at the plate. With the air tense with excitement, he slammed one of Williams’ fast ones out of the park, bringing home Paschal and Gehrig ahead of him. Immediately after the smash of the Bam, the crowds began to file out of the grandstand. Everybody was happy.”