Watt Powell Park in the early 2000s (Courtesy of Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Watt Powell Park (Charleston, WV)

This article was written by Abigail Miskowiec

“I remember these summer days when it was hot and that cool air coming out of the mountains just felt so good.”1Danny Godby

Watt Powell Park in the early 2000s (Courtesy of Charleston Gazette-Mail)

For the better part of the 20th century, baseballs disappeared against the lush foliage of the mountainside, and the crack of the bat competed with the drone of passing trains. As far back as 1916, when player-managers Watt Powell and Biddy Beers erected a wooden grandstand in a bid to woo professional baseball back to Charleston, West Virginia, a ballpark resided on the corner of 35th Street and MacCorkle Avenue.2 This iteration, dubbed Kanawha Park, held just 3,500 spectators and frequently flooded thanks to the site’s swampy landscape. Nonetheless, the Senators dazzled the amateur Twilight League until a professional circuit came knocking again in 1931.3 Powell served one season as manager, leading the team to its first championship, and then served in the role of president and owner. Powell guided the club through 12 seasons in the Class C Middle Atlantic League before World War II halted league play.4

It seemed preordained, then, that Powell would lead the charge to bring professional baseball back to Charleston with a new stadium. With baseball in a lull during the war, Powell stepped into the role of state parks supervisor for the Conservation Commission of West Virginia in 1945. Powell’s commitment to public service continued when he was elected to serve on the city council in May 1947.5 In this capacity, he drummed up support from voters for a $350,000 bond issue to fund a new baseball stadium at the former site of Kanawha Park.

The city council’s support for a new facility enabled Powell to negotiate with leaders of the Central League, a Class A loop that had resumed play in 1948. In July 1948, Powell presented a formal application before the directors of the Central League, and a unanimous verdict allowed Charleston provisional entry if the league were to expand to eight teams in 1949. According to the Hinton (West Virginia) Daily News, “Billy Evans, general manager of the Detroit Tigers, endorsed Powell’s application, describing Charleston as a ‘great baseball town’ and Powell as ‘a man whose integrity in the game has never been questioned.’”6

In a tragic turn of events, Powell fell ill in the fall of 1948 and passed away on November 6. One week later, the Central League voted to replace Fort Wayne, Indiana, with Charleston in the 1949 season.7

The city forged ahead with the stadium, tapping Kuhn Construction Company to oversee the project.8 In December, the city council announced that the stadium would be christened Watt Powell Park in honor of the late owner.9 Construction continued throughout the winter and spring before a strike threatened the Senators’ opening homestand. On March 31, 1949, work stopped at projects across the Kanawha Valley, and the grandstand of the new stadium sat unfinished until April 10 when union workers agreed to allow non-striking craftsmen through the picket lines in an effort to finish the work by opening day on April 27. In the days leading up to the team’s debut, Senators president Jack Meyers estimated that the stadium would “be only about 70 percent complete” and added that plumbing had not yet been installed.10

Gloomy skies and downpours pushed the long-awaited opener to April 28, but the Senators proved well worth the wait. The club outpaced the visiting Saginaw Bears in an 11-5 victory. More than 8,000 fans crowded into the stadium11 to witness Charles (Dean) Wood and Hobie Landrith combine for eight RBIs with a home run apiece.12 Charleston, a Cincinnati Reds farm club, went on to win four of its five games in the opening homestand.13

The power display on opening night was an anomaly for Watt Powell Park, which gained a reputation as a pitcher’s park. The dimensions of the ballpark changed throughout its history, but upon its construction, the left- and right-field lines measured 340 feet with center field at 385 feet.14 Professional baseball left Charleston from 1964-1971, during which time Watt Powell Park was reconfigured to host football games. As a result, the right-field alley stood a whopping 528 feet from home plate in 1977, among the longest distances in baseball at the time.15 By the end of the park’s tenure in the early 21st century, Watt Powell’s outfield walls stood 12 feet high and measured 340 feet to left, 330 to right, and 420 to center.

The grandstand itself marked Charleston’s entrance into the modern baseball era with its steel-and-concrete design. Some speculated that the design guarded against the fires that had frequently besieged Kanawha Park.16 Reserved seats extended from first base to third, with the section between the dugouts shaded by the roof of the grandstand. The press box sat atop the grandstand. On either side of the reserved seats, bleachers stretched to the midpoint of the foul line. For particularly popular matchups, the club sold standing-room tickets and allowed fans to gather along the foul lines and the outfield, separated from play by a simple rope.17 In the park’s final 2000s iteration, the constantly fluctuating outfield fences resulted in a 90-degree angle in right-center, and a children’s play area with picnic tables and a bouncy house replaced the right-field bleachers.

Regardless of the countless renovations, one aspect of the park remained constant. Behind the right-field fence, trains – at first operated by the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad, then by Chessie Systems and finally by the CSX railroad – transported coal from the southern coalfields to destinations in the west. The train’s blaring horn was as much a part of games at Watt Powell Park as the sound of organ music.

The Early Years: Senators in Session

For three seasons, the Charleston Senators functioned as the Single-A farm club of the Cincinnati Reds, and the team boasted few well-known players. Landrith dazzled Charleston crowds in 1949 at the mere age of 19. His batterymate, Joe Nuxhall, was a major-league veteran by virtue of his appearance at the age of 15 with the Reds in 1944.18 Nuxhall spent two seasons in Charleston before returning to the majors and earning a place in the Reds’ Hall of Fame. First baseman Bob Nieman paced the inaugural club with nine home runs.19 Cy Young, who had opened Kanawha Park with a ceremonial first pitch when pro baseball returned to the city in 1931, attended an unveiling of a plaque honoring Watt Powell in 1949.2021

The Central League’s decision to fold at the end of the 1951 season and an ambitious gambit in 1952 allowed Charleston to jump two levels to the Triple-A American Association. On June 23, 1952, Charleston successfully lobbied to acquire the Toledo Mud Hens for $40,000; the move took effect immediately. As part of the deal, Mayor John T. Copenhaver promised expanded seating at Watt Powell Park.22 Another determining factor was Charleston’s successful attendance record; the Senators outdrew the Mud Hens by 55,000 spectators in 1951 despite Charleston being a significantly smaller city than Toledo.23 In an attempt to meet demand, team owners borrowed bleachers from the Kanawha County board of education to add 1,400 seats to Watt Powell Park. The bleachers had to be returned in late July so local high school football teams could begin their season in August.24 A number of court actions, including a grand jury investigation into owner Danny Menendez’s financials, provided more excitement than the play on the field.25 The Mud Hens/Senators finished with a dismal record of 46-107, but professional baseball remained in Charleston.26

The team’s dreary record did little to put a damper on the atmosphere of Watt Powell Park. At the conclusion of the 1952 season, the city council approved a $60,000 renovation plan to permanently expand seating and upgrade facilities. Capacity increased to 6,000, and the locker rooms, press box, and offices were brought in line with the standards of the Triple-A circuit.27 The club resurfaced the infield, added a new scoreboard, and purchased a tarp for the field during the 1954 season.28 To top it all off, Charleston unveiled a neon sign, which became a salient feature of the ballpark.29 The construction frenzy continued throughout the 1950s. Significant renovations, including rebuilding the right-field wall and painting seats, sealed the deal with Detroit to become the Tigers’ farm club in the 1956 season.30

The Senators era, though lean, was not without star power. Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, who had already had a cup of coffee in the majors in 1955, began the 1956 season in Charleston. He earned a midseason call-up to Detroit, returning to the minor leagues only upon his retirement when he became a manager in the Philadelphia Phillies’ system. Jim Kaat followed a path similar to Bunning’s; he got a taste of the big leagues with three appearances with the Washington Senators in 1959 before starting the 1960 season in Charleston. Kaat ultimately earned another call-up to Washington and entrenched himself in the majors, playing in four decades and landing in Cooperstown in 2022.

Luke Easter, who once slugged .549 in a season in the Negro Leagues, attempted to make a return to the majors by impressing with the Senators in 1955. Despite being 39 years old, Easter retained his prodigious power and, legend has it, clubbed at least one ball all the way to Kentucky, some 70 miles away.31 For decades, rumors and tall tales suggested that sluggers could hit a ball all the way to Ohio or Kentucky if they timed it to sail over the right-field fence and land on a passing train. Although contemporary accounts make no mention of Easter accomplishing this feat, his name is frequently tied to the myth.

A less well-known name hurled the first no-hitter in Watt Powell Park history. On May 24, 1960, Ralph Lumenti silenced Louisville, walking one and striking out eight in 6⅔ innings. The game was suspended in the seventh inning, so Lumenti was credited with a rain-shortened six-inning no-hitter.32

In 1961, the move to Minnesota of the Washington Senators, who had been Charleston’s parent club in 1960, imperiled organized baseball in Charleston. The Senators racked up $32,000 in debt during the 1960 season, and the Twins opted not to renew an agreement with the team.33


Watt Powell Park in 1959 (Courtesy of the Charleston Gazette-Mail)


Short-Term Leases and the Team So Nice They Named It Twice

Watt Powell’s next resident seemed a poor fit, at least in name. As the International League began play in 1961, tensions began to rise. Club owners complained that the flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, combined with San Juan’s low attendance rate made trips to play on the island infeasible.34 Bowing to pressure, IL president Tommy Richardson moved the Marlins to landlocked West Virginia. In return, Charleston mayor John Shanklin rented Watt Powell Park to Richardson’s Triple-A circuit at a rate of $1 per year.35

The San Juan/Charleston Marlins were stacked with talent, including 19-year-old Tim McCarver, and finished with the second-best record in the IL. The Marlins stumbled in the first round of the playoffs, however, and the team promptly moved to Atlanta.

The city chafed at what it saw as the unbalanced relationship between the minor leagues and team ownership. The Stadium Board of Charleston offered to once again rent Watt Powell Park for $1 as long as the parent club oversaw stadium maintenance and upkeep, but the nearby Cincinnati Reds failed to bite. Said a board member to The Sporting News, “Charleston people have done some remarkable things for minor league baseball in the past… Our fans have been a lot more loyal to baseball than baseball has been to them.”36

Within weeks, Cleveland snatched up Charleston as a farm club, creating the Charleston Indians of the Eastern League.37 The Indians remained at Watt Powell for three seasons, capturing the pennant in 1963. Luis Tiant and Tommy John stood out on the pitching staff, and future Rookie of the Year Tommie Agee graced the outfield; all were under the age of 22. John credits his time in Charleston, specifically the advice of teammate and coach Steve Jankowski, with teaching him how to pitch.38

Cleveland opted to move the franchise at the end of the 1964 season, spelling the end of professional baseball in Charleston until 1971. Watt Powell Park would not remain dormant, though. Area colleges and high schools frequently used the park for baseball.39 In the summer of 1965, the city council voted to expand the park’s dimensions to accommodate football games, although the local professional football team, the Charleston Rockets, continued to play at Laidley Field across the river.40

In 1971, Charleston – managed by future Red Sox skipper Joe Morgan – made its grand reentry into the IL as the Triple-A farm club of the Pirates. The Charlies stand as the most successful franchise to call Watt Powell Park home.41 The team made the playoffs seven times in 13 seasons, winning the regular-season pennant in 1973 and 1978 and claiming the league playoff championship, the Governor’s Cup, in 1977.

Former Charleston Charlies have an outstanding record of accomplishment in the majors. Dave Parker, Kent Tekulve, Omar Moreno, and John Candelaria formed the heart of the 1979 World Series-winning Pirates.42 Art Howe, Bobby Valentine, Tony La Russa, and Willie Randolph each managed in the majors, combining for more than 5,500 wins at the helm.

After the Charlies switched affiliation from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, one final player of note joined the squad. In August 1981, Joe Charboneau, the 1980 American League Rookie of the Year, arrived in Charleston to rehab a back injury and find his swing. Charboneau spent parts of 1981 and 1982 with the Charlies, and although the Cleveland brass thought “going to Charleston [would] be the best thing in the world for Joe,” the short-lived star fizzled.43

Watt Powell Park became a destination for former stars as well. Mickey Mantle helped ring in the park’s 25th year in 1974 and returned with fellow Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Eddie Mathews in 1980.44 In the years following his retirement, Hank Aaron stopped through the Mountain State, signing autographs and climbing the precarious staircase to the press box to get a break from the crowds. Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, and Bob Feller also made appearances at Watt Powell Park during the Charlies’ tenure.45

Yet the high-profile names on the field and at the autograph table were not enough to draw crowds. Even a local legend come to life could not breathe life back into baseball in the Kanawha Valley. On April 14, 1982, the Toledo Mud Hens visited Charleston. As Randy Bush stepped into the batter’s box as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning “with a train going by… Boomer [Greg Wells] was yelling at [Bush] to go for it.” The ball sailed into the night and landed on one of the coal cars.46 This improbable feat did little to help the dwindling crowds. Charleston consistently finished in the bottom half of the league’s attendance, and at the conclusion of the 1983 season, the team moved to Maine despite making the playoffs.47

The End of Watt Powell Park

The final decades of the 20th century were an age of gimmicks at Watt Powell Park. In 1984, as the park sat dormant save for the occasional high school game, a local attorney staged a wedding for a pair of hippopotamuses.48 In 1988, when the latest professional baseball club, the Charleston Wheelers, became a Class A farm club for the Chicago Cubs, owner Dennis Bastien attempted to bring a little of Wrigley Field to the Kanawha Valley. He told the Chicago Tribune that he clipped 12 sprigs from Wrigley’s iconic ivy. “I wrapped them up in a paper towel and my wife kept them in her purse until we got home on the plane that night,” said Bastien. He then cared for the clippings in the clubhouse of Watt Powell Park through the winter.49 Unfortunately, a cold snap in May killed the plants. “[The ivy] died and so did we,” mused Wheelers center fielder Harry Shelton as the team limped to a 51-86 record.50

The Wheelers celebrated some success as a Reds farm club in the early 1990s. The club made the playoffs in three straight seasons, capturing the South Atlantic League championship in an undefeated postseason run in 1990. Tim Pugh, who posted a 1.94 ERA en route to a league-best 15 wins, garnered much of the attention during the magical 1990 season. However, a light-hitting shortstop’s move to the mound had a greater impact on baseball history. With his professional career on the rocks, Trevor Hoffman caught the eye of manager Jim Lett when fielding ground balls. “We saw that he had a good arm, and so we thought, we might experiment with this guy and throw him a little bit and see what happens,” Lett recalled.51 In the final three months of his season in Charleston, Hoffman began pitching on the side, and that golden arm eventually carried the former infielder to a spot in Cooperstown.52

For a city that had hosted Triple-A franchises for much of its time in professional baseball, the demotion to the Single-A South Atlantic League resulted in a lukewarm reception. The aging ballpark housed dozens of pigeons in the eaves above the grandstand, and mice scampered through office spaces. Ryan Gates, an executive with the club, recalled to the Sunday Gazette-Mail, “There I was at a sales meeting chasing this mouse around my office… We kind of came to expect things like that.”53

The team rebranded as the Charleston Alley Cats in 1995, but the change did little to help with the club’s record… or the mice. The Alley Cats logged just three winning records and two playoff appearances in their 10 seasons of existence. In fact, that time at Watt Powell Park is better remembered for the characters in the stands than for the players on the field.

Charleston baseball’s first emblematic face joined the club in the Charlies days, but his identity, Wheeler Bob, stems from his days as a hawker and salesman in the late 1980s. Robert Friedman began selling merchandise and souvenirs in 1973. Friedman peddled mini-bats (“Perfect for your mother-in-law”), hats, and other knickknacks. He always had a deal, offering most items for a mere $5.54 Slinging jokes and merch, Friedman averaged about $15,000 in sales each season.55 In 2007, Wheeler Bob earned a spot on the franchise’s Wall of Fame, and he celebrated his 50th year in Charleston baseball in 2023.56

Accompanying Friedman in the inaugural Wall of Fame class was perhaps the most recognizable West Virginia baseball fan: Rod “Toast Man” Blackstone. In the early 1990s, Blackstone began attending games at Watt Powell Park and quickly took to the task of pumping up the crowd. During the 1992 playoffs, Blackstone debuted his latest gimmick: hurling pieces of toast into the stands after each strikeout by an opposing player.57 Blackstone’s persona seemed at odds with his day job: first as press secretary for congressman Bob Wise and then as Charleston’s deputy mayor. The Toast Man’s presence became so tied to baseball in Charleston that the team added an outlet behind home plate in Appalachian Power Park, which replaced Watt Powell Park in the mid-2000s.58

In Watt Powell’s waning years, Blackstone’s good-natured cheers and antics were matched by a crowd of hecklers known as the Rowdy Alley. Interested parties could join the fan group by signing a contract and pledging to be “noisy, rude, and crude to the visiting club all while keeping it clean.”59 The group earned its spot on the Wall of Fame in 2017.

All the rowdy fans did little to inspire the Alley Cats to greatness or to entice newcomers to the old park. In 2004, Watt Powell Park’s final season, the club averaged just 1,800 fans per game.60 At the end of the season, the city of Charleston auctioned off the stadium to help finance a ballpark in the city’s East End. The University of Charleston bought the site for $5,000,055 with plans to share the lot with Charleston Area Medical Center.61 While the university did refurbish the adjacent annex field into a diamond for its softball team, the school abandoned its plans for the Watt Powell site in 2008. Students preferred an on-campus gym rather than trekking down MacCorkle Avenue.62 The medical center took ownership of the site and opened a state-of-the-art cancer center in May 2015.63



This biography was reviewed by Kurt Blumenau and Rory Costello and fact-checked by Dan Schoenholz.

Photos: Watt Powell Park in 1959 (above) and in the early 2000s (top), courtesy of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.



1 The Charlies honored Godby – a native West Virginian who hailed from Logan, a town about an hour south of Charleston – with “Danny Godby Day” at Watt Powell Park on May 26, 1975. In 1977, Godby spent his final year in professional baseball with the Charlies; upon his retirement, he settled in southern West Virginia. At a reunion in 2012, Godby reminisced about playing at Watt Powell Park, where the air from Mission Hollow drifted across the field and cooled summer evenings. Michael Browning, “Godby rejoins old teammates at reunion,” Logan (West Virginia.) Banner, April 29, 2012.

2 Although he never broke into the majors, Powell spent parts of 12 seasons with various minor league teams. Bad luck plagued Powell throughout his career. He was “ordered to report to the Boston Nationals [Braves] in 1913, only to break his arm the next day.” Powell contracted malaria in 1915, which ended his playing days and forced him into a managerial role. Powell returned to his hometown of Charleston and helmed the Senators through their semi-pro days (1916-1930). Frank A. Knight, “In Game Since 1906, Wins First Pennant,” The Sporting News, December 8, 1932: 7.

3 Charleston used the Senators nickname as early as 1910 when professional baseball first arrived in West Virginia’s capital city. Charleston only served as a farm club for the Washington Senators during the 1960 season, which was coincidentally the final year for both franchises. One of the earliest references to the nickname can be found in “Manager Joe Mack’s Indians Are Playing in Hard Luck,” Point Pleasant (West Virginia) Register, May 11, 1910: 1.

4 Powell strongly supported the league’s decision to cease play prior to the 1943 season. Powell told newspapers “that even if there were a chance of playing he would be opposed because of war conditions. The majors should continue, he said, but the minors ought to hole up for the duration.” “Mid-Atlantic Fate Being Decided,” Raleigh Register, February 14, 1943: 10.

5 “Watt Powell, 64, Dies In Capitol Hospital,” Raleigh (West Virginia) Register, November 7, 1948: 1.

6 “Charleston to Get Class ‘A’ Franchise,” Hinton (West Virginia) Daily News, July 20, 1948: 8.

7 “Charleston Enters Central League,” Hinton Daily News, November 15, 1948: 5.

8 “Give Contract For Capital Stadium,” Hinton Daily News, August 3, 1948: 5.

9 “Name Charleston Park,” Beckley (West Virginia) Post-Herald, December 8, 1948: 9.

10 “Charleston Senators Set to Open Slate As Listed,” Beckley Post-Herald, April 20, 1949.

11 The crowd is particularly astonishing considering the unfinished nature of the grandstand and the fact that contemporaneous estimates placed capacity at 5,200. “New Charleston Park,” The Sporting News, June 1, 1949: 31.

12 “Senators Top Saginaw with Late Hitting,” Beckley Post-Herald, April 29, 1949, 11.

13 “Senators Off to Tackle Saginaw,” Hinton Daily News, May 4, 1949: 5.

14 Charles R. Lewis, “Professional Baseball Returns to Charleston April 27,” Raleigh Register, April 3, 1949: 11.

15 A. L. Hardman, “Charleston’s Ball Park Will Be Gigantic in ’77,” The Sporting News, April 2, 1977: 23. The anomaly resulted from Watt Powell Park’s shift from baseball to football in 1962; when baseball returned, temporary walls constrained the park’s dimensions to a more traditional size. General Manager Carl Steinfeldt opted to remove those walls prior to the 1977 season.

16 Fire afflicted the stadium on at least three occasions: shortly after construction in 1918, while in use by the amateur Senators in 1940, and finally in 1944. “Charleston Baseball Grandstand Destroyed,” Bristol (Virginia) Herald Courier, May 15, 1940: 6. & Lewis, “Professional Baseball,” 11.

17 According to the Beckley Post-Herald, 8,674 fans purchased tickets to watch the Cincinnati Reds take on their farm club. The outfield crowd resulted in 11 ground-rule doubles. “Cincinnati Racks Up Charleston,” Beckley Post-Herald, July 26, 1949: 7.

18 As of 2023, Nuxhall remains the youngest player to have appeared in a major-league game.

19 Nieman made baseball history when he homered in each of his first two at-bats. As of 2023, he is the only player to have accomplished the feat in his major league debut.

20 “Farotta Has Pair of Field Days,” The Sporting News, June 29, 1949: 31.

21 Mike Whiteford, “Charleston’s 1931 opener was full of gems… including a link to the Babe,” Sunday Gazette-Mail, July 19, 2015: D1.

22 “Charleston Gets Toledo Franchise,” Knoxville (Tennessee) Journal, June 24, 1952: 9.

23 Oscar K. Ruhl, “Toledo Expects to Keep Club Despite Charleston, W. Va., Bid,” The Sporting News, February 20, 1952:18.

24 “American Association – Cgarleston,” The Sporting News, August 6, 1952: 29.

25 Larry Marthey, “Contempt Citations for 4 in Muddle Over Mud Hens,” The Sporting News, July 23, 1952: 38.

26 The Senators would, in fact, finish with a losing record in eight of their nine seasons in the American Association. Their sole winning season was 1958 when they won the pennant.

27 “$60,000 in Improvements Voted for Charleston Park,” The Sporting News, December 24, 1952: 25.

28 “Caught on the Fly,” The Sporting News, November 4, 1953: 27. “American Association,” The Sporting News, April 28, 1954: 26. “American Association,” The Sporting News, June 9, 1954: 34.

29 “American Association,” The Sporting News, July 28, 1954: 32.

30 A. L. Hardman, “Problems Solved, Tigers Will Back Charleston Team,” The Sporting News, November 9, 1955: 18.

31 Tales of homers landing in passing coal cars beyond right field actually aren’t farfetched. More recent iterations, when Charleston was a farm club of Cincinnati, would often posit which would arrive in Ohio first: the player that hit the ball or the ball itself. The Easter tale can be found in Outlook, “Rounding Third: Watt Powell Once More,” produced by Bob Wilkinson, aired August 26, 2004, on West Virginia PBS, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48lASqqHrIw. Accessed on June 28, 2023.

32 “Sens’ Lumenti Hurls Shortened No-Hit Game,” Raleigh Register, May 25, 1960: 11.

33 “Twins Will Give Decision on 10th,” Hinton Daily News, December 1, 1960: 8.

34 The Bay of Pigs Invasion, which took place in mid-April 1961, also could have played a role in the move. According to Richardson, Cuban citizens fleeing to Puerto Rico put economic pressure on San Juan. “Marlins Move to New Home in Charleston,” Circleville (Ohio) Herald, May 18, 1961: 11.

35 Jimmy Burns, “Int Fights Mounting Costs With San Juan Switch to Charleston,” The Sporting News, May 24, 1961: 32.

36 A. L. Hardman, “Charleston Bid for Sally Club Nixed by Reds,” The Sporting News, November 22, 1961: 7.

37 The Eastern League functioned as a Class A system in 1962 but was reclassified as Double-A thereafter.

38 John, Sally, and Tommy John. The Sally and Tommy John Story: Our Life in Baseball. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1983.

39 A smaller adjacent baseball diamond called the Watt Powell Annex was also in heavy use at the time. The Annex still stands and hosts high school softball games.

40 Charlie Connor, “Coal Branch Grateful For City Help,” Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail, July 20, 1965: 7.

41 Contrary to popular belief, the team was not named for the town. Owner Bob Levine’s father “Poor Charlie” Levine encouraged him to buy the club, and the nickname and logo, featuring a bowler hat and cigar, pay homage to him. Outlook, “Rounding Third.”

42 Many local legends purport that Parker clubbed a homer into a passing coal car. Austin Laymance, “Parker thrived, entertained over great career,” MLB.com, February 13, 2018, https://www.mlb.com/news/dave-parker-thrived-entertained-in-mlb-career-c266405442, accessed July 12, 2023.

43 Terry Pluto, “Super Joe Handed Ticket to Minors,” The Sporting News, June 21, 1982: 14.

44 Mathews spent considerable time in Charleston as a member of the Texas Rangers’ coaching staff. The Charlies were the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in 1980.

45 Mike Whiteford, “Hall of Famers’ visits to Charleston a mixed bag,” The Gazette-Mail, June 20, 2020, https://www.wvgazettemail.com/sports/hall-of-famers-visits-to-charleston-a-mixed-bag/article_5b9da269-64a2-5140-bbb3-4272c8e3a23e.html, accessed September 28, 2023.

46 “Bush’s Homer Still Rolling?” Toledo (Ohio) Blade, April 15, 1982: 35. Bush’s other claim to fame is his talent for hitting right-handed pitching. All 96 of his career homers came off of righties.

47 All attendance statistics provided by Stats Crew.

48 “Hippopotamuses wed,” Paris (Texas) News, June 28, 1984: 13.

49 Bill Hageman and Rich Lorenz, “The Friendly Confines… Watt Powell Park?” Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1988: 2.

50 “Team hopes for ivy-covered future,” San Bernardino (California) County Sun, June 8, 1988: 24.

51 Outlook, “Rounding Third.”

52 Robyn Norwood, “Hoffman Rearms His Career,” Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1991: 1.

53 Mike Whiteford, “Of mice and mitts: Power general manager has fond memories of Watt Powell Park,” Sunday Gazette-Mail, April 6, 2008: J6.

54 “It’s an excellent number,” Wheeler Bob told the Charleston Daily Mail. “When you start going $6 and $7, you cut off the impulse of it.” Brian Bowling, “Some ‘Wheeler Bob’ mysteries unveiled,” Charleston Daily Mail, July 6, 2004: 7A.

55 Candace Nelson, “Wheeler Bob celebrates 40 years of service,” Charleston Daily Mail, August 29, 2013: A1.

56 “Wheeler Bob,” https://milb.bamcontent.com/documents/1/5/4/300650154/Wheeler_Bob.pdf, accessed July 12, 2023. Mackenzie Brown, “Dirty Birds Host Wheeler Bob Wednesday Tomorrow with Tickets for ‘Just Five Dollars!,’” Charleston Dirty Birds, September 5, 2023, https://dirtybirdsbaseball.com/blogs/news/dirty-birds-host-wheeler-bob-wednesday-tomorrow-with-tickets-for-just-five-dollars, accessed September 26, 2023.

57 Dave Weekley, “‘Toast Man’ adds spice to Cats’ games,” Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette, April 15, 2022: 3B.

58 Benjamin Hill, “‘Toastman’ a ballpark icon in West Virginia,” MiLB.com, July 25, 2014, https://www.milb.com/news/gcs-85937268, accessed July 12, 2023.

59 “Rowdy Alley,” https://milb.bamcontent.com/documents/9/3/4/300648934/Rowdy_Alley.pdf, accessed July 12, 2023.

60 Attendance figures from Baseball Cube. https://www.thebaseballcube.com/page.asp?PT=minor_attendance&ID=2004.

61 The $55 over $5 million was symbolic of the stadium’s 55-year history. Mandy Rorrer, “SOLD: UC buys Watt Powell Park for more than $5 million,” Charleston Gazette, November 11, 2004: 1C.

62 Mike Whiteford, “University of Charleston Abandons Watt Powell Location,” Charleston Gazette, July 2, 2008: B1.

63 Lydia Nuzum, “Public Glimpses Newly Finished Kanawha City Cancer Center,” Sunday Gazette-Mail, April 19, 2015: B1.