• Steve Potter

7/4/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Wilson Tobs


Time Period - 1956


Venue : Fleming Stadium


City : Wilson, NC


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Franchise History :


The pro level Wilson Tobs played periodically between 1908 and 1973. The Tobs nickname was a shortened form of the word "tobacconists". From 1908 to 1910, the team was officially known as the Wilson Tobacconists. During the 1920–1922 and 1924–1927 seasons the team was known as the Wilson Bugs. The team played in the Carolina League from 1956 to 1968, Wilson returned to the Carolina League for one season in 1973 as the Wilson Pennants.


The Carolina Mudcats were the last affiliated minor league team to play in Wilson in 1991 as they waited for their new stadium to be completed in nearby Zebulon, NC. Today, the current iteration of the Wilson Tobs is a member of the Coastal Plain League, a short season collegiate league whose players are housed by local families during the summer.


Major league affiliations over the years with the Tobs included :


Philadelphia Phillies - 1956

Washington Senators - 1957 & 1960

Baltimore Orioles - 1958

Pittsburgh Pirates - 1959

Minnesota Twins - 1961 to 1968

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The Stadium the Phillies team played in :


Fleming Stadium :


Also Known As: Wilson Municipal Park 1939-1947; Wilson Municipal Stadium 1948-1951

Location: 719 S. Goldsboro Street.

Capacity: 3,800 (1939); 4,000 (1950); 5,000 (1973), 3,000 ( present )

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 350-380-350 (1939); 343-465-343 (1961); 332-450-332 (1973)


Fleming Stadium was named for Allie W. Fleming, a major benefactor of the Wilson team. The stadium was built in 1938 as a WPA project.


“Fleming Stadium is classically-styled ballpark that features a covered grandstand, chair backs, and bleacher-style seats, a simple scoreboard, and a beer garden down the first base foul line. It is still in fabulous condition. In fact, it's probably in better shape than many parks that are hosting minor league baseball today. The large covered grandstand contains all the seating, half of which is plastic folding chairs and the other half which is metal benches. Fleming Stadium is boxed in by streets on every side. Another charming ballpark which is a throwback to a different era in minor league baseball.” - Ballparks Review


The stadium was used for filming of the rain-out scene from the 1988 movie Bull Durham with Kevin Costner.


It’s the current home of the Wilson Tobs collegiate summer team in the Coastal Plain League and the local American Legion summer team.


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The Season :


1956


Carolina League (B ) ... Manager : Charlie Gassaway ... 72-79, 6th place ... Attendance: 80,409.


25 year old RHP Ray Semproch went 13-13 with a 3.51 ERA in 31 games ( 213 IP ) ... he would go on to play in 4 big league seasons ( 1958 to 1961 ) with the Phillies, Tigers and Angels ... was 13-11 for the 1958 Phillies with a 3.92 ERA in 36 games ( 12 complete games ) tossing 204.1 innings ... over his MLB career he went 19-21 with a 4.42 ERA in 85 games ( 344 IP ).


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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