Many ‘old-timers’ in Craig and surrounding counties remember the ritual after attending church on Sunday. “We always had our uniforms and cleats in the trunk, ready to change and play baseball,” one player remembered. Also, many of the ladies had baked all kinds of delicious cookies and cakes for the young kids to sell, so the teams could buy more baseballs.
On Saturday, September 30, at 1 p.m., all of the players and their families are invited to Moncove Lake for a ‘Baseball Family’ potluck picnic. “This will be our second reunion,” Angie Beane shared. “We had one last year and about 40 former players and their families attended.”
The Baseball Leagues were from the 60s, 70s and early 80s. Teams were from; Upper Craigs Creek, New Castle, Paint Bank, Waiteville, Sweet Springs, Gap Mills, Boiling Springs, Gold Bond, Big Stoney Creek and Sinking Creek.
Johnny Beane tells one of his stories. “I remember I was one of the youngest players on the team and I played for Waiteville. We were playing Sinking Creek and Ralph Bradley was catching and I was batting. Ralph told me that ‘Rabbit’ was pretty wild today! I knew Ralph always tried to get in your head talking to all the batters. I don’t even know his real name, but he was a great pitcher and everyone knew he was a fierce competitor. He did not like to lose.
Well, Rabbit went through his wind-up and BAM, he hit me so hard that from then on I didn’t know if Ralph was telling me the truth or if he was just trying to get into my head again.”
One person remembered as she was a kid, watching the ladies fight behind the dugout about something. One pulled the hair out of another lady’s head and tied it to a string and swung it around. “Those didn’t happen often at all, but it made for a cool timeout,” she added.
“I have so many good memories, as everything stopped on Sunday afternoons in the summer time back then and it was a family gathering every week,” Beane added. “I would probably still be playing if the league was still going, as I love baseball and there are a lot of life lessons to be learned from this game.”
Beane added, that it is the one game that doesn’t matter your size, as it is who can hit and catch the ball the best that determines the winner. “I think about Donnie Dudding,” Beane said. “He was a great baseball player and was one of the smallest players on the field.”
“We would really like to see all these guys at the reunion,” Angie shared. “Spread the word to bring your families and a covered dish.” Danny Lucas will be providing hamburger and hot dogs, so everyone else can bring the sides, desserts and drinks.
Also, everyone is encouraged to bring your old pictures of the games. The reunion will be at the Moncove Lake State Park next to Gap Mills, West Virginia, at shelter #2 at 1 p.m., Saturday. Sept. 30.