Baseball In Downtown, Devereux Meadow Meets Progress In Raleigh

Courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives

It’s no secret but most people don’t know about the baseball stadium that once stood near downtown. That’s right, at one point in time, minor league sluggers were blasting home runs onto what would eventually become Capital Blvd. The ballpark once sat in the area highlighted in the map below and this is where I’d like to focus the conversation today.

Click image for wider view.

Raleigh’s Team
The Raleigh Capitals once played at Devereux Meadow Ballpark which was located along present day Peace Street between West Street and Capital Blvd. The stadium was built in 1938 and baseball had its up and downs here until the site was cleared in 1979. In the name of “progress”, the area was then used for city services, a parking lot for waste disposal vehicles really. I want to highlight two articles I found that mention the stadium meeting the wrecking ball, written around that time.

Sentiment Surrounds Wrecking Of Park – The Time-News June 27, 1979.

Wrecker’s Ball Puts End To Ballpark – The Tuscaloosa News June 27th, 1979.

Courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives

What is there now?
The area today contains few offices or very little of anything representing density or urbanity. The city has been using the lots for parking waste services trucks and other utility vehicles. A few businesses reside off West Street in “off the beaten path” office space with very little car and pedestrian traffic on West Street.

However, the more important resource in this area is the Pigeon House Branch Creek that snakes through the Devereux Meadow site and hides underneath certain streets in downtown. Here’s an excellent blog post tracking the creek through the site. Last I checked, the creek was on the state’s list of impaired waterways and the city is trying to remedy this. One example of a fix has been the water garden at nearby Fred Fletcher park. I bet most readers have driven or walked through this area and never knew that a creek was flowing underneath.

The Future
As far as I know, there are no plans for Devereux Meadow at this moment. Ideas of a river walk have come up but nothing has materialized from that. It’s all talk at this point but that allows the online peanut gallery here to dream up ideas for this large piece of property on the edge of downtown.

More on that later….

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  1. Great spot for a low-rise office complex that houses Police/Fire/Emergency Management headquarters as well as city government offices. We can call it the Gaylord Bonner Municipal Plaza!

  2. What a shame that it was torn down… so MANY tragic stories of buildings lost during the 60s and 70s… and it seems most just were torn down to be parking lots. Wow, that’s great planning. I think a river walk could be a very neat idea. Line it with some independent shops and restaurants with riverfront seating, and a wide paved walkway on both sides of the river, lined by trees. Could be very cool and pretty, and a great draw to the area. Just sayin’ …

  3. Wonderful post and thanks for the link! I attended many ball games here as a child and have nice memories of the games. I am looking forward to the “riverwalk” greenway planned by Pigeon House Branch in this area – but no hopes for restoring the ballpark, I fear.

  4. I watched the Raleigh Caps and the Cardinals play baseball there as a child. Broughton High School’s football team used Devereux Meadow as their home field and so did Sanderson High School until Sanderson’s football stadium was completed in 1971. I lived in Italy from 1979-1981 and was shocked and saddened when I returned and drove by the site and saw garbage trucks and other city vehicles parked there.

  5. I watched many baseball games at Devereux Meadow in my youth, but the place was worn out by 1979. It wasn’t worth spending $$$$ of public money to save. While it may be sad to lose something from the past, not everything can and should be saved. It served the purpose for which it was built, lived out its life, and now it is gone.

  6. I was lucky enough to see several games there. The Raleigh/Durham Triangles’ home field- affiliate of the Houston Astros, I believe
    I was also fortunate enough to play there on several occasions with the Cary Legion Baseball team in 76-77. It was fun place to play gave you that major league feel. Also played at the Durham Athletic Park before it was shut down. Lots of great memories in both of those places!

  7. My Daddy used to carry me to the ballgames there, much like we took our children to Durham, thanks for the great memory.

  8. It was a hot Day in late July, 1952. The Cap’s were playing Fayetteville in the Meadow and the starting pitcher for the Cap’s had just been made a father of a brand new baby boy a few days earlier. To celebrate, he hit three home runs, a single and a double, won 15-2 and tied Muscle Shoals record of three homers in one game. His name was Al Cleary, I was the baby boy.

    I still have the bat used, broken in batting practice, the next day. It is old now and many of the signatures are hard to read. One that stands out though is “Crash Davis”.

  9. I forgot to mention. Two records were tied that day 7/27/52
    3 homers in one game (record tied)

    Total bases, one game -15
    record tied Al Cleary, Muscle Shoals

    Info taken from the 1953 Carolina league record book
    Most valuable player 1952 Leonard Matarazzo on the cover
    I have tons of memorabilia and stories, such as when Cleary faced Jackie Robinson In Minnisota in ’41? Robinson did not get on base. BTW.

    I am assuming much of this info exists nowhere else, at leat I have not seen it.

  10. Bryan, that’s an awesome story. There aren’t any team statistics saved anywhere? What was the name of the league that the Capitals played in?

  11. Wow..that is amazing thank you for that bit of reasearch.. What Deveolpers can do Is get the photos of the Once Stadium and try to rebuild it,Creating a Stadium/River Walk in the area.”Ding”…there is your Destination spot. I’m sure that Parking and other Venues can be sorted out,But that would be a new addition to Downtown Raleigh. A pleasent Riverwalk where folks can lounge and gather together,A Stadium,where you can just Walk to the game or a short drive downtown rather than Drive all the way to Zebulon to watch the MudCats Play,hence saving gas to get there..There is just not enough Creative thinking to look at the big Picture. I hope that Someone see my Comment and Pass Along this bit of info to City Leaders and Developers and give it some serious consideration.

  12. In the day, when one Mr. Brock owned the baseball team, my father was the ticket taker. One night they had a Shetland pony give away. By chance, my sister won. Lady behind us caught wind of my father’s vocation, and protested the fix was in. The funny thing being, was that my father had 5 kids and worked two jobs to support them. It wasn’t like he wanted to add a Shetland Pony to mix. I am sure he was relieved.

  13. […] located on the area bounded by North West Street, Peace Street and Capital Boulevard, was once a minor league baseball field?  Today the area, where development is limited by the fact that it sits on a flood plain, is used […]

  14. What a great place that was, my dad work for Mr. Brock, so I spent my summers at the park. I ended up being the bat boy and would shag fly balls with the team when they took batting practice before each game. A lot of great players played there eventually making it to the majors. It was sad to see it go

  15. I played 2nd base for the Raleigh Caps in a 1958 exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox led by Ted Williams,Jimmy Piersall,Frank Malzone and Willard Nixon.If I recall there were about 7 to 8 thousand people in attendance and I remember Jimmy Piersall leading a high school band with his bat for entertainment prior to the start of the game.Piersall also hit a home run over the leftfield fence into the hiway off our pitcher Russ Halloran.The Red Sox won the game,can’t remember the score.Ted Williams only batted in the 1st inning and lined a single past me into right center.After this game we returned to Ocala,Fl to resume spring training.After a successful season for the Corning Red Sox I returned to finish out the 1958 Carolina League with the Caps and experienced another memorable event when I hit a home run over the rightfield fence at Devereux Meadow in my 1st at bat against Wilson,NC.In 1959 after an injury in spring training and a knee operation I returned to Raleigh for 2 weeks of rehab before being sent to Corning where I only played a few games.In 1960 I returned to play for the Caps and had an outstanding season.In 1961 I got hit in the face by a thrown ball in spring training while playing for AAA Seattle,Rainers in Deland,Fl and suffered broken bones and a concussion.I ended up playing in A ball with Johnstown,PA of the Eastern League.I finished my baseball career in 1962 playing for the Winston Salem Redsox.During my minor league career I really enjoyed playing in Raleigh as Devereux Meadow was always a well maintained field and we had at least 300 loyal fans to support us every home game.Long live the memory of Raleigh Caps Basball at Devereux Meadow.By the way,just as a side note my sports career in baseball ended in 1962 but it evolved later on into Major ASA fastpitch softball with the nationally famous Raybestos Cardinals of Stratford,CT.In 2009 I was inducted into the National ASA Fastpitch Hall of Fame.If anyone reading this has a box score and news related articles of the 1958 Caps vs the Boston Redsox please e-mail me.I tried the local newspapers with no luck.

  16. […] The “early 70s” detail was to connect “The Ginger Kid”‘s Raleigh baseball team to the defunct Raleigh team, the Raleigh-Durham Triangles, that folded in 1971.  I placed the Capitals in downtown Raleigh, but I didn’t specify a site; I suppose they could have played on the site of the old ballpark at Devereux Meadow. […]

  17. i too saw the Cardinals play an ehibition doubleheader at the meadow; stan musial played just the first game,but i think that was standard; i believe i saw robin roberts pitch as well; then i think i played some games there as a youth, but i wouldn’t put money on that memory;
    but i would, on the night my brother gave me some ex-lax as “candy”, which after much pondering, caused our dad to decide i should stay home instead of going there for the game with them!

  18. The heck with the Durham Bulls. Pay the annul fee, build the Mudcats a new stadium in downtown Raleigh!!!
    Next to new Mudcats stadium, build a new PNC arena
    This city moves to slow, they have built only two real high rises in 22 year. Buid these two stadiums downtown!

    This would be the true destination for downtown. Parks are not destinations, you go downtown for entertainment and if your near the park, you stroll through it, no more, no less (our city council: what Dix)

  19. I remember playing for The Dr. Pepper Wildcats, The Raleigh all=star Pee wees, Martin Jr. High there against Daniels. If memory serves me, we lost that game, but I had always enjoyed the history of the Meadows. I graduated from SHS in 1976, and left for college. By the time I returned, the Meadow was gone which broke my heart. I couldn’t believe that the city destroyed such a historic place, but I have hope that perhaps they will build a new Devereux Meadow at that location for the middle schools and high schools to play in along with Semi pro baseball.

  20. WOW !!!! How about this !!!!!! I played in the same game Al Yeager mentioned against the parent club. Got a single that day against Dave Sisler. Al, Peirsall also hit the homerun as the leadoff hitter in that game. I also played in Corning, NY. Then the Raleigh Cap in 1960, went to Allentown in July of that year in the Eastern League. Played third base. After an arm injury the following spring, I returned to play second base in the NY Mets Org. in Devereau Meadow. Loved playing there !! I lived in Raleigh for 21 years. Played fast pitch softball @ Red Diamond over next to NC State. WOW, I could go on ! Good memories. Hey, Al. If you see this, please contact me. Love to talk to you. God bless you, man. Your old teammate, Jim

  21. I played in the Carolina League in 1967 for Rocky Mount Leafs. I hit a Natural cycle and played in the Carolina Allstar game there that year. Sorry to see it demolished as it will forever hold precious memories to my past. Baseball in Raleigh should be a heritage. We should never forget those great baseball years that took place there. Bob shifty Gear

  22. I went to quite a few games at Devereux. I like to think I remember Yaz playing there. I do remember Greg “The Bull” Luzinski. The Cardinals held a clinic there at least one Summer. The sound of Enos Slaughter hitting baseballs off the left field wall during that clinic. was something I’ll always remember. And the peanuts were great!

    Not only was baseball played at Devereux but also football. The Broughton Caps played there for a number of years after NC State’s Riddick Stadium stopped being used.

    Good times, good times at Devereux Meadow.

  23. Hey Robert , I also went to see The Raleigh Caps play @ Devereux . I saw Carl Yaz. play in 1959 , the year that he was voted Carolina League Player Of The Year . My Dad played semi-pro baseball there & I played football for Millbrook against Hugh Morrison & Daniels J.H. school during that time . I remember when Raleigh was nicknamed ” The Sleepy Capital Of The South ” & the population was 65,000 people . Raleigh & Durham were BIG RIVALS in the Carolina League & had many people @ every game that they played against each other . Great Times , like you mention ! Dwight Nipper

  24. Just noticed a follow-up email about Devereux Meadow and the 1958 Raleigh Caps by teammate Jim Hendricks. If you have his email address I would greatly appreciate it to reconnect with him. Thank you

  25. Att: Allan , Wish that I could help you . I remember very well the games in 58 & 59 . I remember in 1959 when Carl Yaz. won “The Carolina League Player Of The Year” ! Great Baseball Years In Raleigh ! I loved it ! Dwight Nipper

  26. I attended a number of games at the Meadow in the late ’50!’s and saw Yaz (we nick named him Yastro back then). Recall he hit quite a few doubles and was really ballyhooed coming in. The Caps or ballpark hired a bully type to shag foul balls and you could not as a fan retain as a souvineer as he would smack you if you attempted to retrieven, especially if a kid like us. I saw where a string contributor mentioned being on the team when the Sox came to town for an exhibition during the late ’50’s. I was a student at Daniels Junior High then and my father had one heck of a time getting me out of school that day to see this game, which I couldn’t understand then but since understood if every dad made that same request, the school would have been devoid of students that day. In any case, my distinct recollection on that occasion Ted Williams was only allowed to pitch hit and they walked him.! Was I ever hacked!! After the game we went down to the Sir Walter where the Sox were staying and my dad sent a baseball I had up with a bell boy giving him $5 to take to Williams’ room where Williams signed the ball. Within a week I was playing with the ball in our front yard, it disappeared under a shrub, and hasn’t been seen since. Needless to say, my father was none too pleased. Finches across Peace Street was the place to drive- in before Cap games but I never went there back then. Sad Raleigh could ‘t sustain the team.

  27. Attended a number Cap games at the Meadow in the late 50’s including when Yaz was brought in as a very ballyhooded player who we nick named Yastro. He didn’t disappoint. The ball boy was a flat bully when came to shagging balls and as a kid you could not keep as a souvineer if retrieved. Noted on contributor mentioned being on the Caps team and being present when the Sox and Ted Williams came to town about 1959. My dad had one heck of a difficult time getting me out of Daniels Junior High for the game. My distinct recall on that particular occasion was rather than Williams singling, he was I allowed to pitch hit late in the game and was walked. Was I ever hacked! The left field wall of the ballpark was a knockoff of Fenway ‘ green monster’.

  28. Jim , They were the Good Olde Days ! I loved the Raleigh Capitals dark blue pin striped , white uniforms . I played jv football @ The Meadow a few years later . Changing the subject , I have just read that the city council will discuss next Tuesday about having a downtown hotel study to see about more hotels . The study will cost 55 thousand , should start in March 2015 & take app. 4 months. Wanted to pass this info. to everyone . Dwight Nipper

  29. Besides seeing about the downtown hotel study , I also have read that the Planning Commission Tuesday will discussed changing the city zoning @ the 600 block from a 3 story height to a 12 story height , per the request of the lot owner . I was told by a city offical that the sewer lines were not large enough for a 30 story tower
    for 600 W. Hargett St. Also this is one rumor that I have been told from someone @ the city that is a reliable person . The city plans to build a baseball stadium @ Devereux Meadow & a soccer stadium in the Dix Area . I sure hope that this will be true in the future. Dwight Nipper

  30. I wish the city would buy out cargill on S Wilmington St and close S Blount St. Would be plenty of room for a stadium and would totally alter the nature of the area. Instead of King’s we might end up with some nice hotels there instead. The railroad runs to this location too for future mass transit connections.

  31. Dwight,

    Is that true that the city plans to build a baseball stadium at Devereux Meadows?
    I have not heard any discussions about a stadium being built at that location.
    A stadium anywhere downtown would be great a great addition and great news.
    I assume it will house the Mudcats (hopefully if/when a stadium is built it is a Class “A” facility with character – it needs to be, at a minimum, a facility like Bulls stadium, but I would suggest bigger and better with retail and restaurants surrounding it).

  32. Jerry , Over Thanksgiving Holidays , I was told this from a middle management city employee . That’s all I know & no details were given me . I think that person didn’t know the details since he didn’t mention any . This person is very well liked , so I hope that this rumor is true . Dwight Nipper

  33. A city built Baseball Stadium? Not likely…Funding would be a huge hurdle. Floating another bond referendum would be tough. Wake County already has an investment in the Mudcats Five Counties Stadium. Mr. Bryant might be coaxed into considering moving his team. The urban/metro setting has appeal, but he would have to burn a lot of bridges between the Meadows and eastern Wake County. And the Bulls are not going anywhere. That makes putting another minor league franchise here almost impossible based on current league rules on distance between franchises.

  34. Old Greek : A few months ago , I talked to David Diaz , Director Of The Raleigh Urban Center in person . He did tell me that he was talking to Jim Goodnight about bringing baseball back to downtown Raleigh & that he has been talking to Mr. Goodnight for a while . Mr. Goodnight owns WRAL TV & WRAL owns The Durham Bulls . Dwight Nipper

  35. Sorry Dwight, but it’s Jim Goodmon that owns WRAL and the Bulls. It’s possible he could buy the Mudcats and put them downtown, maybe.

  36. Sorry Guys ! My apology. I’m bad on remembering names . This is just me, since both men are highly successful , let’s try to talk them into going 50/50 & building a super baseball stadium . New Years Wish ! Dwight Nipper

  37. Guys I do know that the city is working on plans for a ballpark @ Devereux to be as close as possible to look like the old park . As they draw the plans , they have pictures of the old park to go by . Dwight Nipper

  38. Thx Dwight for update:
    Hopefully, the field looks like the old stadium and not the structure or bleachers. They need seats, outfield facing downtown skyline, concessions, boxes/suites, etc.. If they are throwing up a replica, don’t build it at all.

  39. Joe , My friend said that it would be a combination of old & new . He said that the picture of the old stadium is right beside the new drafting plans as they work . Dwight Nipper

  40. Dwight:
    Thx for added detail. If it looks like Bulls stadium or better, this is VERY exciting for downtown Raleigh.
    Hope they develop the area around the stadium with retail, restaurants and nightlife.
    Curious where people will park their cars? will have to be a very large parking deck connected to stadium.
    Based on many past projects, hope this is not a pipe dream (get everyone excited than the project is scrapped), in most cases, due to city council members (ODOM, BONER) that have NO vision

  41. Me to John ! I do know that David Diaz is very excited about bringing baseball back to Raleigh .
    Dwight Nipper

  42. I disagree with about Ted Williams pinch hitting late and walking in the Boston Red Sox vs Raleigh Caps game in 1958. Williams batted third in the first inning and hit a shot that I heard go by me into centerfield. Our starting pitcher Russ Halloran was a little nervous and went to a full count before Ted singled. If you can find a box score of the game you will see he went 1 for 1. The main library in Raleigh may have the write up and box score of the game on microfiche. Don’t know the exact date but it was at end of March or early April. Also I would like to mention to Dwight Nippert that I have a 1958 autographed Carolina League ball of the Raleigh Caps that includes Merlin Nippert’s signature. Tracy Stallard, who is famous for giving up Roger Maris’s 61st homer, was also on our 1958 team. If anyone comes across any articles or the box score they can reach me at .

  43. Allan , It’s great to hear from you . If my memory is right , Carl Yaz. was The Carolina League Player Of The Year that played for The Raleigh Capitals in 1959 . Did you play for Raleigh in 59 ? I saw quite a few games in 58 also . “Merry Christmas Allan” ! Dwight Nipper

  44. Dwight, thank you for the Christmas Greeting. You are right about Carl being the 59 Carolina League Player of the Year. Believe he also lead the league in hitting with a 355 average. I had a knee injury in spring training in 1959 that required surgery in Boston and I was sent to Raleigh to rehab. I was told by the Red Sox farm director that I was supposed to be the starting 2nd baseman but since I missed most of spring training they switched Carl from shortstop to second base and the rest is history. I spent two to three weeks with the team working out in the am at Devereux Meadow and made road trips with the team to workout in the pregame practice. I ended up in Corning, NY and only played in 16 games before being sent back to Boston for exploratory surgery. The following year I was in Allentown,PA and returned to Raleigh for most of the season. I really enjoyed my stay in Raleigh, roomed with Bill Moniak and Mike Page at a home on East Aycock. We were close to a city pool and not to far from the ball park. I also was getting physical therapy at Reynolds Coliseum from our trainer Herman Bunch. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year. Allan Yaeger

  45. Allan : Your info. is so cool ! Thanks ! Our son was on schlorship @ Mount Olive playing 2nd base in 1990 – 1992 & also had a knee injury . We had lunch one Sat. with Bobby Richardson while Bobby was coaching @ Liberty & Bobby offered our son help if he ever became dissatisfied @ Mount Olive . The pool was Hayes Barton & I have watched Pistol Pete Mavorrich play pick up games their on their concert court . “Happy New Year Allan” ! Dwight

  46. I remember watching the Raleigh-Durham Pirates play there a few times when I was a child. Great memories! I was sorry to see the stadium go.

  47. When I was a baby my mom took us to see a baseball game there probably ’57 or ’58! She won a miniature bat that night and I still have it! It was a great place to go! Wish Raleigh still had some place like that.

  48. I am really glad to hear that efforts are at least being discussed about improving the Devereux Meadow area, and that bringing baseball back to Raleigh. It would have to involve Jim Goodmon as I understood he has a clause about what division minor league teams can play in proximity to Durham (Bulls). No triple A team is allowed, and the Mudcats (Double A) had to place their stadium in Zebulon, for that was as close as they could get it to Raleigh with Goodmon’s attendance competition stipulations. So something will have to be worked out there.

    I am also excited to hear they are considering a mix of old and new for the stadium. Few photos convey it, but Devereux Meadow stadium was Old Gothic style with granite blocks. It was beautiful behind the backstop area. Love to see that again.

    One last thing about Devereux Meadow’s history. Babe Ruth homered there, when he was playing for the Fayettville minor league team of that time. He only played a short while before being called up to the Red Sox. But the Fayettville team played games against Raleigh. There was a plaque at Devereux Meadow stadium talking about the home run and far it traveled.

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