Football, baseball seasons are overlapping
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.