Graniteville baseball field named after former big-leaguer Tommy Dunbar

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:59 PM EDT
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GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Graniteville community is small and tight-knit, and with that in mind, it was only fitting that one of the town’s local legends was honored for his contributions and legacy to the community.

Many people outside of Graniteville may not recognize the name right away, but a former big leaguer now has a field named after him.

“We said we needed to name it after someone with some significance. Some names were tossed around and Tommy Dunbar came up,” said Tim Crane, Vice President of Gregg Park Dixie Youth Baseball. “And Tommy Dunbar as we know of is the only guy from Graniteville who made it to the MLB. It was only fitting that we named this field and dedicated this field to him.”

Dunbar played with the Texas Rangers from 1983 to 1985 and also put together an impressive coaching career when he finished playing.

“A lot of the smaller kids don’t know Tommy Dunbar, but to be able to say now, ‘hey you’re playing on a field the same field that a major leaguer played on.’ The same field,” said Rob Wilhite, Gregg Park Facilities Director.

“He told the kids, he would want them to dream big, but work hard to make their dreams come true,” said Bobby Wilhite, a childhood friend of Tommy Dunbar.

Dunbar, unfortunately, passed away almost 10 years ago to the day at age 51. Today with family and friends in attendance the same field he played on now bares his name. With the hope that his spirit and personality find the next big leaguer to come out of Graniteville.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better friend. I enjoyed my time growing up with him, playing sports with him, he was just a super guy,” said Tommy.

“I think he’d be very proud of it. He’d been proud but probably been, ‘aw shucks’ that kind of thing. I don’t think Tommy was the kind of guy who’d want the spotlight,” said Bobby.

The renovation process on the field is still about a month away from being completed. Regardless, the legacy of Dunbar will live on in the community for years to come.

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