Chamber Chat - Baseball in Sanford

Mar 11

By Meg Moss


Lots of people say that Christmas is their favorite time of the year, and while it runs a close second for me, I’ll have to put little league baseball season at the top of my list! And it’s that time of year! I recently ran across a website call, and found an article about East Sanford, and of course, it reminisced on Temple Ball Park and the Sanford Spinners. I found the article just in time for baseball season! It read:


“One of the most historically distinctive resources in the East Sanford Historic District is Temple Park, which occupies an entire city block bounded by South Seventh Street, South Eighth Street, McIver Street, and Maple Avenue. It anchors the east end of the district. It was the home of the Sanford Spinners baseball team that played primarily in the 1940s. Temple Park was named for Will Temple, a local baseball star who played in the New York Giants organization. In 1939, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) built a frame grandstand at Temple Park that curved around nearly one half of the field, had rows of bleachers, a canopy supported by wood posts, and restrooms beneath the stands. In 1939-1940 the Sanford Spinners team was part of the semiprofessional Tobacco State League. In 1941-1942 the team was a part of the Class D professional Bi-State League that included teams from North Carolina and Virginia. The best years for the team came after World War II, when the Spinners, then part of the Class D professional Tobacco State League, played from 1946 until 1951, when the team disbanded. Fifteen cities, all from North Carolina, played in this league. The Spinners won the league championship in 1946, 1947, and 1948 (Herald, Centennial Edition, April 30, 1974; Sanford Spinners Baseball Club).”


The grandstand was demolished in the 1960s and there is no longer a professional baseball team in Sanford, but to showcase Sanford's history, the City of Sanford's Appearance Commission guided the creation of several historical murals in downtown Sanford. One such mural honors all the athletes who played for the Sanford Spinners baseball team in the Tobacco State League during the late 1940s. The mural was inspired by Howard Auman, who pitched the Spinners to its first league championship in 1946. Howard Auman died on May 2, 2015 at age 93. He was also a pitcher on the Chicago Cubs' spring roster in 1948. The muralist was Scott Nurkin, it was completed in 2015, was sponsored by Sanford Contractors, and can be found at the corner of Wicker Street and Horner Blvd in downtown Sanford.


There is still time to sign your child up for spring baseball! Lee County Parks and Recreation has limited spots still available. You can sign up your child by stopping by the Parks and Rec office at 2303 Tramway Road. Deep River Northview Optimist also has some youth baseball spots remaining, and you can register your child at, or by stopping by Walk Off Academy Baseball at 1122 Hawkins Avenue.


It’s an exciting time of year to highlight our both our great Parks and Recreation, and privately run baseball programs. We certainly have some very nice facilities to play on here in Lee County. So I’m putting on my “mom hat” and letting you know that I’ll see you at the ball game!


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