First pitch 

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019



TRYON—The Harry Dallara ball field is now open for business.  

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Harry Dallara Foundation and Town of Tryon officials held a soft opening ceremony Wednesday morning with the first pitches being thrown to Polk County Recreation catcher Mason Littlefield by Charles Dallara and Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples.  

The Dallara project is not finished, but Charles Dallara said Wednesday morning that they were opening the ball field for the kids.  

“Why the soft opening now when there’s so much more to do?” Charles Dallara asked. “Because of the kids. This field is ready.”  

The Harry Dallara Memorial Foundation was established to honor the life of Harry Anthony Joseph Dallara, who died in 2012. Dallara grew up in the Bronx and moved to Spartanburg after serving in World War II. In the 1950s, Dallara discovered Tryon and Harmon Field, where he spent many Sunday afternoons playing baseball with his family and friends.  

He played his last game of baseball at Harmon Field at the age of 95, in the spring of 2012, just before his death.  

The Dallara project at Harmon Field will include renovations to one of Harmon Field’s three baseball diamonds, including new fencing and gates, a new scoreboard and landscaping to create a park-like atmosphere. The project will also include a bronze statue of Dallara inspired by a photograph of Dallara hitting baseball at the age of 92. Tryon native sculptor William Behrends will create the statue. Behrends will also design a bas-relief sculpture to honor the Tryon All Stars, a semi-professional African-American baseball team formed in the 1940s. 

The sculpture of Harry Dallara, a new score board and the sculpture to honor the Tryon All-Stars is planned to be complete next spring.  

Harry Dallara Foundation Board member Gordon Hamilton said the Tryon All Stars were a big deal. He spoke of how the African American semi professional baseball team was not allowed to play at Harmon Field. The team was created in the 1940s.  

“(Baseball) is what people did on a Sunday afternoon,” Hamilton said. “The sad story is they were not allowed to play at Harmon Field. That’s the story of older baseball in the south.”  

Hamilton also mentioned Hawthorne Wingo, an African American Tryon High School graduate who went on to play for the New York Nicks in the early 1970s.  

Hamilton said the All Star sculpture, which will be 5 feet by 5 feet once it is placed in stone and located near first base in the park will be placed at Harmon Field on purpose.  

“We are also welcoming the All Stars to Harmon Field,” Hamilton said. “They should have played here 40 years ago.”  

Speakers at the soft opening included Charles Dallara, son of Harry Dallara and foundation chairman, Peoples, Hamilton, Harmon Field Board of Supervisor Chairman Benny Smith, architect Mark Byington and Polk County Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Stensland 

Stensland pointed out that Charles Dallara came with a suit on wearing cleats. Stensland also said he is looking into games being played at Harmon Field in the future. Baseball practice is held there now.