TFAC presents Tryon All-Stars exhibit through March 13

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tryon Fine Arts Center presents the exhibit “The Tryon All-Stars: Tryon’s Semi-Pro Baseball Team playing from 1946 – 1968.” The exhibit will run through March 13 in Gallery I at Tryon Fine Arts Center, 34 Melrose Ave., Tryon.

Shortly after World War II, a group of young black men in Tryon formed a semi-pro baseball team, the Tryon All-Stars.  As African-Americans, they were not welcome in public parks.  The All-Stars organized themselves with the help of older men, playing first on a rented field.

Later in 1949, a black benefactor, Jesse Ziglar, purchased land on Tryon’s Eastside for a ballpark. It had been a cornfield until the team members went in themselves and cleaned it off. This was the time when opportunities were few, but hopes were high, as Jackie Robinson had just been signed as the first black player to the major leagues.

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The All-Stars played all over the Carolinas and at their home field, which was now complete with a grandstand and wood bleachers with a metal roof. The park, which was formally dedicated as Ziglar Field in 2006 and now is a public park, stands at the intersection of East Howard and Vaughn Streets in Tryon.

Practicing and traveling together made for closeness among the men, and the community supported them wholeheartedly.  Admission to games was 50 cents to a dollar, and the winning team would take 60 percent of the gate, with the losing team taking 40 percent.  The money helped with team expenses.  No one was paid.  They “played for the love of the game.”

There are a few members of the teams still living and many of the team’s family and friends still reside in the area.  Many of the team members went on to bigger and better things.  A few went on to play in the professional Negro Baseball League.

Visitors are invited to share their own personal team stories and join TFAC in celebrating this part of Tryon’s history.

This free exhibit is made possible by the Free Community Event Grant Program from the Polk County Community Foundation. For more information visit or call 828-859-8322.

-Submitted by Susan Brady