E.P. Godwin Stadium has an interesting history, although it is not clear why it was built. The best recollection is the Wilmington Pirates’ minor-league baseball team played there during parts of 1946-1950 when it was called Memorial Stadium. After the Pirates folded, the facility remained as home to various baseball teams, such as Wilmington Post 10 American Legion in the 1950s, Cape Fear Academy and the Hoggard Junior varsity in the 1970s.
Eventually Memorial Stadium, with thick cement and steep steps, was changed to Allsbrook Field for City of Wilmington mayor Allsbrook.
In the late 1960s and early ’70, Eddie (E.P) Godwin III and two others purchased Allsbrook Field and sold it to the City of Wilmington with the promise it be kept as a baseball park. Edward Godwin Jr, the father, had coached and operated youth baseball programs in the area in the 1950s. Godwin Oil Company owned a team in a league. Godwin III then leased the field from the city.
To fund the youth Babe Ruth program and upgrades to Allsbrook Field, Godwin III staged wrestling matches, with such notables as Ric Flair, at Legion Stadium and sponsored the Harlem Globetrotters and Meadowlark Lemon at Brogden Hall.
Godwin III used the monies for major renovations, such as parking and to install mercury vapor lights and re-landscaped the playing surface and restrooms that met state specifications.
When the Pirates played there, the field dimensions were 420 to straightaway center field and 350 feet down each line. For youth baseball, Godwin, moved the fences in so the 13-15-year-old players could belt home runs.
Eventually Allsbrook Field was renamed Babe Ruth Park and Godwin III was president of the youth league.
Because of restoring youth programs and refurbishing the old park, the City of Wilmington renamed it E.P. Godwin Stadium in honor of Edward Godwin Jr., although the exact date is not clear.
In 1998, the Godwin family sold the oil company to Dilmar Oil in Castle Hayne, where Bill Godwin, a former Wilmington Post 10 player and Eddie’s brother, manages the company.
Youth baseball teams continue to play at E.P. Godwin Stadium and one other team, the semipro Wilmington Indians, played there for a while.
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Date posted: November 11, 2011
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