There have now been 3 different versions of Finch Field in existance but this Finch Field was the original. This was also where all professional Minor League Baseball at Finch Field was played (the other two have hosted the CPL Summer Collegiate League). Finch Field "I" was built in 1935 and replaced Willis Park where the Hi-Point Pointers had been playing from 1928-1932 for the Piedmont League. This relatively huge stadium took over for all professional baseball in this southern section of North Carolina's triad. The first professional ball team to move in
after its completion was the Thomasville Chair Makers. The Chair Markers of course were paying homage to Thomasville's famed furniture builders which are very much still the heart and soul of this region today. The Chair Makers were part of the Class D North Carolina State League, which began in 1937 with 8 teams in Salisbury (Newman Park @ Catawba College), Cooleemee (Cooleemee Ballpark), Newton-Conover (Newton Park), Shelby (Cleveland Cloth Mills Park-High School Stadium), Lexington (Wennonah Field), Landis (Landis Park), Mooresville (Mooresville Park) and of course here at Finch Field. *Gord Brown - SABR Ontario. 1937 proved to be a fruitful year for the new Thomasville Chair Makers, who were playing in the league without the benefit of a Major League affiliation. The Chair Makers played excellent baseball going 63-48 (.568) behind the play of future Cincinnati Reds pitcher Wes Livengood (12-12, 4.58), Dennis Paige (13-3, league leading 1.96 ERA), Edward Parker (13-6, 3.24), future St. Louis Cardinals OF Walter Sessi (.293), Roy Pinkston (40 2B, 10 3B, 7 HR), William Ragsdale (30 2B, team leading 13 HR, .300) and Baxter Moose (16 2B, .359). With this colorful cast of characters, the Chair Makers finished in 2nd place and took on the Shelby Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs. In a 5 game series, Shelby and Thomasville went into the final game all tied up at 4, but Shelby hung on for the win ending Thomasville's chances. In 1938, Thomasville changed their name to the Thomasville Orioles (no affiliation... the Orioles were still the St. Louis Browns), though many listings still have the team serving as the Chair Makers. The team was outstanding but it was the two stars of the previous season... Paige Dennis and Roy Pinkston that were simply magical. In 1938 Paige Dennis had the best season of perhaps any pitcher in the history of affiliated Minor League Baseball, when he went 28-2 with a 1.33 ERA! Paige led the league in everything except strikeouts which belonged to teammate Ray Lindsay (19-9, 2.72, 247 Ks). Roy Pinkston meanwhile hit 31 doubles, a team leading 15 HR and batted .356. Dar Shealy hit a massive 52 doubles along with 8 HRs and beat Pinkston by 1 point to lead the league in hitting at .357. James Canty led the league in hits with 156 (31 2B, 8 HR, .331) and Roland Harrington also contributed in a big way with 26 2B, 8 3B, 10 HR and a .338 batting average. Together this team went straight to 1st place, with an amazing 75-36 (.676) record. There they swept the Lexington Indians in the first round to take on Mooresville who had also swept Gastonia (Shelby moved there mid-season). The battle that ensued between Mooresville was so tight and so intense that by game 6, Thomasville and Mooresville were locked in a 3-3 tie with a final death match game that erupted into total chaos. Before the game could even be completed the fans had worked themselves into such a frenzy that a riot ensued between the fans of the rival cities and got completely out of control. Fearing for the safety of the players and the fans, the North Carolina State League called the game and refused to play another bloody rematch, instead declaring both Thomasville and Mooresville co-champions.