Grayson Stadium wouldn't be historic without its fans!
The Sand Gnats would love to hear about your memories at Historic Grayson Stadium.
FEATURE STORY OF 2010
a young man raised in Savannah, I saw many games at Grayson Stadium in
the 1950s and early 1960s. Back then, the major league teams, in spring
training in Florida, would "play" their way back north, usually having
2-3 exhibition games en route. These are two of my fondest memories of
Grayson, both of which involved exhibition games.
(1) Without a doubt, the greatest event that has occurred at Grayson Stadium was the home run hit by Mickey Mantle during an exhibition game; I believe it was April 1959.
Mantle, batting right-handed, lined one into left-center field. It not only cleared the top of the old left field stands, it was still on an upwards trajectory as it left Grayson Stadium. The ball cleared the pine tree grove in left field. Some say it cleared Bee Road and landed in front of the fire station. Others say the ball is still going, while one man claimed it went all the way to Thunderbolt.
After the game, Mantle, who was then in his prime, said it was the longest home run he had ever hit.
As this story has built up over the decades, half the people in Savannah claim they were in attendance. I was there, however, along with a cousin and a friend, and witnessed the hit. I have seen hundreds of baseball games since then, major and minor league, and have never seen a ball hit so hard.
(2) Another exhibition game was played between the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, and it could have been the same year. This was the White Sox team that featured Luis Aparico and Nellie Fox, and the Cardinals were led by Stan Musial.
The crowd was so large that fans were seated in the outfield, on the field, in the warning track, between left and right fields. A player for the Cardinals hit a ball into the right field gap, beyond the reach of both outfielders, and it rolled to the wall. A fan picked the ball up, threw it to the White Sox right fielder, who relayed the ball to the infield, catching the batter as he ran into third base. The umpire allowed the play and called the runner out. It was, remember, an exhibition game.
M. T. Monson, Jr.