Today, forty years ago, the Durham Bulls returned from a season-opening road trip to Durham Athletic Park for their home opener. But something was going on during that first home game of the 1980 season.
As the team’s home uniforms were stolen two days prior to the season, Hank Aaron, the Braves’ Minor League director, sent used Braves home uniforms to wear on the road. You may wonder why.
Well, the Bulls decided to wear their satin blue road uniforms as their home uniform.
Here is some footage of that frigid opening night, April 9th, 1980 at Durham Athletic Park, the ballpark where the movie Bull Durham would be filmed, as the Bulls took on the Salem Redbirds:
It was the first time since 1971 that professional baseball was played again in Durham as the Raleigh-Durham Triangles folded prior to the 1972 season. When baseball returned, the team adopted the name Bulls and was affiliated to the Atlanta Braves. As the team played in the Carolina League (A-Advanced) it has no relation to the current AAA Durham Bulls. After the 1997 season, the team would move to Danville to become the Danville 97s. It would last only one season in Danville as the team was moved again, this time to Myrtle Beach where it would play as the Pelicans.
In the final season as Carolina League team, the Bulls already played in new Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which would become the home of the AAA Bulls, affiliated to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.