Charlotte Knights fans lined up Saturday in the hope of getting a piece of the team’s history before it leaves Fort Mill for good.
The Knights held an auction at the soon-to-be demolished Fort Mill stadium the team called home for more than 20 years. Everything from team memorabilia to kitchen equipment and furniture was for sale. More than 400 people attended the auction.
All proceeds from the auction went to offset the team’s move to downtown Charlotte, where a new stadium will soon open, team officials said. Most items that are fastened down inside the stadium, such as the seats, are the property of York County. The county owns the stadium and sold the land it’s on to the Cato Corp., which is planning to build a distribution center there.
Fort Mill resident Randy Layman said he remembers coming to games with his family and coaching high school players on the field.
“We had so much fun here,” he said. “I hate to see it go, but I think it will be great downtown.”
Layman came to the auction in search of memorabilia. He took home a “Knights Home Today” sign and a Charlotte Knights floor mat.
“That right there just tells it all,” Layman said. “I’m taking it all in.”
Charlotte native Carl Krimminger was part of a travel ball league and remembers playing at Knights Stadium. He took home the sign for rows 104-105 for $40.
“It’s cool to have a piece to take and look back on,” he said.
Krimminger said the sign will hang in his garage.
Fans also had the chance to take home Knights memorabilia while supporting a good cause. Charlotte Knights Charities, which is awaiting approval of its not-for-profit application, sold T-shirts, mugs and other items to support the Levine Children’s Hospital, the Autism Society of North Carolina and other charities.
“We spread the proceeds throughout the community,” said Matt Millward, director of ticket operations for the Knights.
Kathy Shivers, who came to the auction from Columbia, wanted to find items for her future tea room business.
She walked away with 36 chairs for $165, 6 tables for $160, a heat lamp for $15 and a warmer for $75.
“I’m blessed today,” she said.
The 689 items on auction included sinks, refrigerators, TVs and concession equipment.
The auction gave the Knights a chance to share part of the stadium with the fans, said Charlotte Knights General Manager Scotty Brown.
“All of this stuff is usually behind the scenes,” he said. “Fans now get a glimpse of what it takes to operate a professional baseball stadium.”
Brown said it was bittersweet to see hard core fans looking at the items and remembering their times at the Fort Mill stadium.
“A lot of memories were created here,” he said. “We’re excited to see all the fans that came out here to support us join us in our new neighborhood.”