The Thomasville HiToms and Wilson Tobs (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) played an unusual turn-back-the-clock series, traveling via train.
Various minor-league teams representing both cities have been around for decades and decades, going way back to the days of Class C and Class D ball. In the old days, circuit were built around train lines — the dominant mode of transport. So when Greg Suire, the president of both teams, was casting about for promotional ideas, he reflected both on the history of trains in minor-league baseball and his own experiences riding Amtrak instead of driving. So with the HiToms set to visit Fleming Stadium, the team traveled to Wilson via Amtrak. From the High Point Enterprise:
“When we came up with the idea of transporting the team by train, it was really two-fold: first, it hearkens back to the day when that’s how they travelled; second, we wanted to show the players a different side of North Carolina, besides the interstates.”
The idea for the team to travel by train developed out of Suire’s own experience running both teams. Looking for a way to get some work done while traveling, he started taking the train from his home in Greensboro to Wilson, and the idea to take the team grew from there.
“I did that as a way to work while I was traveling,” he said. “I was tired of just driving and not getting any work done. That started me looking into it. And once I did it, I started thinking, ‘Couldn’t the players do it, too?’”
They did, and they were joined by fans willing to re-create the train era. At Fleming Stadium, the game was presented as an old-time event: lineups were announced via megaphone and teams and fans both wearing the fashions of the day.
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