This is likely the first time we’ve covered the Old North State Baseball League, but after falling into a rabbit hole perusing some of the ballparks in this summer-collegiate circuit, we’re happy to share the news about two team sales.
The Hendersonville Honeycrisps, based in Hendersonville, N.C., have been purchased by Third Street Sports, LLC, an ownership group made up of childhood friends Kyle Aldridge, Doug Roper III, and Brad Morrison. Kyle and Doug are former high-school teammates and college baseball players while Doug continued his career in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Kyle Aldridge is a CPA, Doug Roper is a banker and the current mayor of Vidalia, Ga., and Brad Morrison owns multiple technology businesses.
“We’re excited to partner with the Hendersonville community in bringing high quality baseball and family entertainment back to historic Berkeley Park next summer,” Aldridge said via press release. “We can’t wait to showcase the tremendous baseball talent in the area and build on last year’s successful inaugural season. General Manager Mark Emery and Head Coach Will Lindsey have laid the groundwork for a winning team for years to come.”
The Honeycrisps play at Berkeley Mills Park, which opened in 1949 and, like many North Carolina ballparks, began life as home to a mill team, in this case the Berkeley Spinners.
Also changing hands: The Oak City Gliders, playing out of Raleigh’s Optimist Park. The Gliders have been acquired by Phillip Lin, an entrepreneur who is a minority owner of the Fayetteville Fury (an indoor soccer league) and the owner of Catering by Design and Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, both based in Cary, N.C.
“As a lifelong baseball fan, it’s always been a dream of mine to own a baseball team,” Lin said via press release. “I am so thrilled that I am able to fulfill my dream in the city that I love, and to dedicate the team to the memory of my mom, who loved the sport as much as I did. This is such a special moment for me. My plan for the team is to continue the tradition of the league being for the players as well as enhancing the fan experience.”
As noted, we kinda fell into a rabbit hole of old ballparks when researching the Old North State Baseball League this morning. Some of those notable ballparks include J.P. Riddle Stadium, the former home to MiLB and summer-collegiate ball in Fayetteville; Truist Point, home of the High Point Rockers; Lenoir’s Walker Stadium, named for former major leaguers Verlon and Rube Walker; and Lexington’s Historic Holt-Moffitt Stadium. (You may recognize some these ballparks from Mark Cryan’s Cradle of the Game: North Carolina Baseball Past and Present. We’re hard at work on a third edition and hope to have a release soon. If you’d like to be informed about the impending release, sign up for the August Publications newsletter here.)
Photo of Berkeley Mills Park courtesy Hendersonville Honeycrisps.