West Raleigh Exchange Club was founded in 1948. The baseball program later formed in 1958.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960‘s a clubhouse was built alongside an Olympic size pool. You can still see parts of the pool which extended from the current Clubhouse to the partial fence along the back parking lot. The historic pool house, which is currently still standing and used for maintenance materials, provided showers and bathrooms for pool goers. In addition to the pool, there were two lighted tennis courts located where the current West Raleigh Baseball concession stand sits.
The original concession stand still exists about thirty feet from its original place and is now used as the Burke Field announcer’s booth. Back then, kids received free post-game drinks. A great tradition that continues today.
Burke Field was the only original field. The concrete stands, formed and poured by members, still provides parents and fans their viewing destination for games. The original dugouts were partially underground and formed with cylinder blocks and a roof. The infield did have grass at that time, similar to how it is today.
Horses would graze on the fields in the fall and winter months in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s because there were no fall-ball seasons.
Originally, the Minor League and Little League teams played on Burke Field and had as many as fifteen players on each team. When West Raleigh Exchange Club put up lights on the field, they also replaced the partially underground dugouts with the ones currently in place.
With field space tight with only one field, the American League (AL) and National League (NL) played on the same nights and switched times between late and early games. The Minor League would play on the AL and NL off nights.
As a post game tradition, coaches would take the winning teams down to the Dairy Castle on Western Boulevard for ice cream. The Dairy Castle closed in 2010, but the tradition is remembered.
Woodard and Nowell Fields originally belonged to the West Raleigh Swim Association and not a part of the West Raleigh Exchange Club. The two eventually merged and the property all became West Raleigh Exchange Club.
Woodard & Nowell Fields were cleared and graded over twenty-two years ago by member Mike Clancy. Kids from the league picked up rocks before each game for several of years, until it was free and clear.
The Swift Creek Exchange Club originally ran the Junior League baseball program before turning its operations over to the West Raleigh Exchange Clube.
Eagle Scout and community projects helped renovate and reshape the parks walls, benches, walkways and steps over the years.
Danny Poole, West Raleigh Exchange Club President and Raleigh Fire Chief
“This will be my 29th year at West Raleigh, I have seen almost all the changes. From the dugouts, to the old telephone light poles, old fencing to the new. I was here when they closed the pool and tennis courts and made way for a new concession stand. I witnessed the bottom fields cleared and development into what we have today. I remember projects and working past midnight to run electricity from bottom fields to upper field electrical panel, all because we had to have the ditch witch back on time. We’ve used so many member resources, including my 1979 Ford to haul sod down to the minor league field because no big truck could originally navigate down there.
I am proud to say the Raleigh Firefighters and I have committed countless hours to volunteer efforts and sponsorships at West Raleigh Baseball for over 29 years. I am proud to call this place my baseball home and more proud that we have, as a community, developed a safe place for kids’ to grow up and have fun playing baseball.”
Today, West Raleigh Baseball is a Cal Ripken affiliated league that hosts almost 500 players from 5 to 12 years old each season. With its complex located in the heart of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, West Raleigh Baseball ensures a commitment to offering local players and families the best youth baseball experience and player development opportunities.
West Raleigh Baseball has a rich baseball community of former professional baseball players and college players helping guide the principles of player development throughout the league. With the loyalty and support of volunteers, local partners and parents, West Raleigh Baseball is truly a community making an impact on children’s lives.
West Raleigh Baseball’s sixty year history, on-field success and guiding principles has lead to recent national brand partnerships with Under Armour and Changing the Game Project to name a few.
Follow West Raleigh Baseball on Instragram at @westraleighbaseball for league updates and announcements.
West Raleigh Baseball operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors.
The West Raleigh Exchange Club is part of the National Exchange Club, a non-profit organization whose national mission is to prevent child abuse through youth programs and advocacy.
The West Raleigh Exchange Club supports approximately 1,000 youth baseball players annually through the West Raleigh Baseball Association, a community-based baseball league for youth in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. The league has been operating since 1958 at the current facility located at 830 Barringer Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606.
The West Raleigh Exchange Club involves the West Raleigh Baseball Association families in programs of service with The National Exchange Club Project – The Prevention of Child Abuse, Duke Children’s Hospital, The Miracle League, Urban Ministries and the A.C.E. Scholarship Program. The West Raleigh Exchange Club believes it is important to impart a spirit of community service in our children from an early age, so that, the next generation of citizens will grow up to make a difference in their communities.
The Exchange Club meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday, 7:00 p.m.,
Williams Clubhouse, 830 Barringer Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606. (Click Here for Google Maps +)
If you would like to find out more about West Raleigh Exchange, attend a meeting or be a part of our mission, Visit Exchange-NC.org to get started or to contact us for more information.
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