Football, base­ball sea­sons are over­lap­ping

Record Observer - - Opinion - Dan Tabler

As the weather turns cooler, we have football and base­ball sea­sons over­lap­ping. One of my faith­ful readers came to me with a ques­tion about the old Cen­tre­ville ball park at the foot of Belvedere Av­enue where we en­joyed many a sum­mer of base­ball in the Eastern Shore League and our own am­a­teur league with Cen­tre­ville Ori­oles and the John Selby-led Cen­tre­ville Gi­ants.

Her ques­tion to me was “do you have any pictures of the old ball park?” Well, I cer­tainly shot many photos dur­ing the sum­mers down there, but most of them were just plays on the field or sin­gle shots of play­ers to go along with sto­ries on the sport page. But it did send me to my book by Bill Mow­bray, of Cam­bridge, who did a mighty ex­ten­sive his­tory of the Eastern Shore Base­ball League back in 1989. Bill, who was sports editor of the Cam­bridge Ban­ner at the time, had plenty of pictures in his book, but the only ball park shot he had was one of the Cam­bridge’s field, as I leafed through the book again. It is one of my fa­vorite sports books on the shelf, given to me at Christ­mas that year by my best friend and classmate, Gus Downes.

I had marked the page with Sudlersville’s own Jim­mie Foxx, then also found that another ma­jor league base­ball con­nec­tion was born in Queen Anne’s County. He was Jim Boyer, who um­pired the Eastern Shore League in 1937 and moved up the ma­jors to work in Amer­i­can League from 1944 to 1949. The book said he was born on April 21, 1909, in Tem­pleville and died on July 25, 1959, in Finks­burg, MD. That was all the in­for­ma­tion Bill had about him in his book.

Other stuff I had en­closed in the pages of the book were two pages copied from the orig­i­nal lease of the ball park in 1945 from of­fi­cers of the Queen Anne’s County Sports Ac­tiv­i­ties Inc., to the Cen­tre­ville Base­ball Club Inc. (The only prob­lem with the copy is that they spelled Cen­tre­ville with an “er” in­stead of its proper spell­ing.)

It was when the Class D Eastern Shore League was be­ing re­vived for a third time and Cen­tre­ville was to have a farm club from the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles, who were then in the In­ter­na­tional League. Jack Dunn III, who went on to be the gen­eral-man­ager and player with the team, was pres­i­dent of the club as listed in the lease and Herb Arm­strong was sec­re­tary. The lo­cal sports ac­tiv­i­ties group was headed by John Perry, pres­i­dent and As­bury Bartlett, sec­re­tary; all of whom signed the lease with no­tary pub­lic Robert T. Newell, at­test­ing.

As I have men­tioned many times be­fore in this col­umn, it was a

won­der­ful and bit­ter­sweet year as George Aldridge and I sat in a tele­phone booth-sized press box on the top step of the wooden grand­stand for ev­ery home game: George call­ing play-by-play and I keep­ing score. Well, we won it all, sweep­ing the play­offs over Dover and Mil­ford. But the Ori­oles did not re­turn for another year and broke the hearts of all lo­cal base­ball fans.

•••

HUR­RI­CANE HAZEL HITS The dam­age left by Hur­ri­cane Matthew sent me to the bound files of the Record-Ob­server for 1954, some 62 years ago when Hur­ri­cane Hazel bar­reled up the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay on Oct. 15, with 100-mph winds and 18-foot storm surges. We did a lead story in the pa­per, along with five pictures, and the darn story won an award from the Na­tional Ed­i­to­rial As­so­ci­a­tion that year. I even had a short side­bar on the lead story say­ing the winds were so pow­er­ful they moved freight cars up at Sudlersville miles away into Milling­ton.

While the rem­nants of Matthew gave us rain here, we hope we never have to put up with the likes of Hazel again.

•••

DO YOUR SHRED­DING Good­will Fire Com­pany as­sis­tant trea­surer John CVach will be hold­ing a shred­ding day at his of­fices on 4-H Park Road at the south edge of Cen­tre­ville on Saturday, Oct. 15, free of charge, but we ask a do­na­tion to the fire com­pany. This is a good good time to clean out those old boxes of pa­per records.

And while I am about it, don’t for­get other fundrais­ers for the fire com­pany: a pan­cake all-you­can-eat break­fast at the fire­house on Sunday, Oct. 16, from 7:30 to 11 a.m.; and a big Oys­ter and Bull Roast to be held Saturday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the fire­house.

And I also have tick­ets for fall the chicken bar­be­cue by the Methodist Men of the Cen­tre­ville United Methodist Church to be held on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 26 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the church. They are just $7 each, and you can’t beat it.

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