Baseball on Delmarva

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Wicomico Memorial Park Baseball Ticket Booth, 1946, Nabb Center, Sheldon Jones Collection (1993.06.16)

Baseball has been at the center of community life on Delmarva since the game began. Small-town teams gave way to professional leagues and several Eastern Shore natives became major league stars.

Across the country, folks were swept up in the national pastime. Whether fans lived in the big city or on the rural Eastern Shore, the love of baseball was a shared experience. On Delmarva, game days were celebrations that provided a respite after a long day in the field or on the water. Stands were often packed with men, women, and children in volumes that outnumbered a town’s entire population.

While baseball frequently brought people together, it sometimes also created divisions. As the game became professionalized, hometown players were replaced by off-Shore talent. Fans still passionately rooted for their teams, but this fervor sometimes turned violent. The game also created long-standing rivalries between competing town teams that linger today.

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Eastern Shore African American Baseball Team, c.1940, Courtesy of Dr. Kirkland Hall

Baseball reflected American society at the time and was not immune to segregation and gender discrimination. African Americans and women were excluded from the national baseball stage until they formed leagues of their own. Friends and Rivals celebrates baseball on Delmarva through stories that speak to perseverance, breaking barriers and teamwork – qualities not only valuable in baseball, but in building better communities.

Baseball on Delmarva