FORT MILL TOWNSHIP — A quarter-century of memories and over 1,700 games for the Charlotte Knights in Fort Mill came to an end on Labor Day as the Knights finished the 2013 season with a 4-0 win over the Gwinnett Braves.
After one year in a temporary stadium in Fort Mill in 1989, the Knights opened Knights Stadium in April 1990 and closed the stadium out on Labor Day nearly two and-a-half decades later.
The final game at Knights Stadium attracted 6,894 fans -- more than double the usual average -- and the win gave the team a record of 65-78 for the season.
The team drew 254,834 fans for the season, last in the International League, as they averaged 3,803 per game. During the Knights' time in Fort Mill, there were 6.5 million people that have attended games at Knights Stadium, according to Knights Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski.
Next year, the Knights will open the new $54 million BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte. The Knights will use the off season to move into the new stadium, while occupying Knights Stadium through Dec. 31. Within a year, the Cato Corporation will level Knights Stadium for a new distribution center, according to Knights officials.
However, the Labor Day season finale was all about memories for a generation of Knights fans. The festive atmosphere saw Homer the Dragon make his final appearance with his father, Papa Homer. It saw kids scrambling for foul balls in the picnic area and families spending time at Knights Stadium one last time.
We are sad to see the Knights leave Fort Mill, said Amy Bennett, a Fort Mill resident. I have been coming to games since I was in the sixth grade. Now I bring my kids. We look forward to supporting the team at its new location in Charlotte too.
For more, see the Sept. 11 print edition of the Fort Mill Times.