TURNER FIELD WAS IN UNION CITY, TENNESSEE LONG BEFORE THERE WAS ONE IN ATLANTA. THE HOME OF THE UNION CITY GREYHOUNDS, TURNER FIELD WAS BUILT IN 1934, NAMED IN 1935, AND EXISTED UNTIL ITS DEMOLATION IN 1969.
Turner Field had one of the five largest playing areas in the world in its heyday. It sported a left field foul line of 341; left center was 437; center, 409; right center, 424; and right firld foul line 312. Before the center field wall was brought in to 409 in 1940, it had been over 500 feet from home plate. The outfield walls were uniquely built of stone from the right field foul area to right center. The left field and center field walls were constructed of concrete curb and gutter material salvaged from a city street widening during the early 1930's. This part of the fence had the curb and gutter buried and standing on end to a height of about six feet then another piece cemented by the gutter along the top, bringing the fence to about eight feet total and giving it a ribbed appearance. Hitters fortunate enough to hit one to the wall were often rewarded by a strange bounce or carrom. The dugouts were also concrete construction and unlike most minor league dugouts of the day, actually sunken into the ground so that players seated on the bench were at eye level to the playing field. The infield was grass and the screened grandstand wrapped from half way down the first base line to the same distance down third. It contained dressing rooms underneath the stands, a radio broadcasting booth on the roof, and a pressbox behind home plate. These pictures show some of these features.
Picture from 1969 when Turner Field was torn down to make room for a new fire station and a connecting north-south street. This view shows the "home" dugout on first base side and the remaining grandstand.
Shown in the background is the right field fence and the beginnings of the center fiel "curb and gutter" wall. The way the curbs were fittend into the rib like structure can be seen in the vertical shadows. The sign on the top of the centerfield wall advertised Bennett's Best in Menswear. The sign to the right was advertising Goldcrest 51 beer, a local favorite following WWII. The player is Milton Hamilton during his American Legion playing days. Now deceased, he most recently served as a cabinet member for the Governor of Tennessee.
This view shows the grandstand with it's screened front. The radio booth is partly visible in the top center. This is an early 1950's American Legion team coached by back left, Dodds Griggs, and back right, George Tyree. Tyree was also the local high school football and baseball coach. Others on the team were Jerry Ferguson, Al Bullington, Gerald Carver, Kevin Dunagan, Albert Hornsby, Wilton Lynn, Bussie Moore, Billy Powell, Kenneth Goode, James Hunt, Bobby Thorpe, Jimmy Burress, and batboy Leroy Burress. Bussie Moore later played in the Kitty League for Fulton.
After the closing of the Kitty League in 1955, Turner Field was used by Indepentent League teams. These teams equated to the Sunday ball teams that the field was originally built to support in 1934. This shows the lights that were first used in the 1935 Kitty League season. The team shown is one of the last to use the field for baseball. It is the 1962 West Tennessee-Kentucky Independent League champions. Members include back, Albert Baker, Paul Cooley, unknown, Johnny Wall, Jerry Grady, Roger Shore, Larry Edmundson. Front, Joe Hammond, Lannie Callicott, Jim Hill, Donald Bishop, Jack Frierson, and Manager Bernard Evans.
The Zachariah Giants were one of the Negro League teams that played in and around Union City in the 1930's and 40's. Like other non-Greyhound teams, they played at Turner Field when they got the opportunity. Team members from front left are Carter Johnson, Watt Williams, Chester Gray, Alvin Williams, Chales "Little" Davis, Robert Moffett. Back Jake Derby, J. W. Gray, Henry McFall, Burl Turner, and James Tolliver
A beauty Reviews of some sort being held at Turner Field. Picture shows clearly the center field fence (409 feet from homeplate). That's a Bennett's Best in Menswear sign in right center (424 feet away), and the vague stripes in the right field side extending into center field is where the field has been marked for use by the high school football team.
Just out of the picture in left center field (437 feet away) was the scoreboard.
Early 1950's American Legion Post 20 team. Ken Guess, front with catchers mitt played for the Greyhounds. Bussie Moore, back row, 5 from the left played for Fulton.
On special occasions young folks were lucky enough to be allowed to play at Turner Field. This is a PeeWee team from about 1950. The team was a fore-runner of todays traveling teams as it played teams of a like age in several surrounding towns.
L to R front. Bobby Arnn, Richard "Termite" Harrison, Harold Fuller, Larry Edmundson. Back-Jimmy Daniel, Arlie Ramsay, Bob Stephens, Bobby Tate, Richard Arnold
These three pictures are courtsey of Bob Oefinger Jr. His dad played first base for the 1952 Greyhounds. Two of them were taken from the roof of the grandstand and the third from the scoreboard area 437 feet from homeplate. The house shown on the right of the outfield shot was once the Moose Lodge and currently the Goodyear Union Hall. A fire station now sits between first and second base.
One of the Independent teams mto play at Turner Field probably in 1956. Back from l to r: Jim Hill, Bernard Evans, MGR, Ken Guess, Richard Arnold, Larry Edmundson. Front: Bill Roney, Gordon Cross, Joe Hammonds, Paul Cooley, Marion Hill w/son Gary.
Pictures above were provided by Tom Pruett, Jr. His father was the original owner when he lived in Union City from 1920-1946. The players (top) are Al Swartzman, Charlie Martin, and Homer Johnston. Lower pix are pitcher Don "Lefty" Bakkelund, outfielder Sid Ray and catcher Walt Wrona in pregame warm-up. In each picture you can get an idea of the outfield fence and the spectators in cars lining the third base line, the line markers on the fence right and left, and the flag pole in center that had been moved inside the park in 1941.
The Daniel brothers played during the 30's throughout local communities. From left: Wylie, Charlie,Raymond, Huggie, Newt, Alvis, Pete, Carnel, and Dan. Newt pitched for the Greyhounds against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1935.
J.C. Barnes band played at Turner Field. The teams traveling bus indicates this was in the 1935-40 era by the American Legion Post 20 insignia at lower left.