The Oaksville Eagles

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Oaksville Eagles, c. 1940s, Courtesy of Dr. Kirkland Hall

The community of Oaksville, Maryland, about five miles east of Princess Anne, hosted one of the longest running African American baseball teams on Delmarva. The Eagles played from 1910 through the early 1980s. Oaksville was a community of about 30 to 40 families, many of whom worked on local farms. Baseball was at the heart of the community in the summer from Memorial Day through early September. The team practiced in the early evenings throughout the season whenever there were free moments.

By 1949, support for the team was strong enough that the community purchased Eagles ballpark for the team to play against competitors from other communities. Every Sunday afternoon in the summer, fans packed the stands and the surrounding grounds to watch the Eagles. One-dollar ticket sales helped maintain fields and also enabled the team to purchase equipment and uniforms and to fund travel to out-of-town games. While the team remained African American, game attendees often included local white spectators as well.

Baseball in Oaksville was a community and family affair. Some Oaksville families had fielded Eagles players since the earliest days of the team. Game days often included exhibition games between the Oaksville women’s team and women players traveling with the visiting men’s team.

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Oaksville Eagles, c. 1970s, Courtesy of Dr. Kirkland Hall

During its long history, the Eagles had a number of memorable seasons and produced several players that went on to collegiate baseball or the major leagues. At its peak, the Eagles had enough players to field two teams, often playing double headers on Sunday afternoons. One stand-out season featured a 48-game winning streak. The Negro League came to an end when baseball integrated in the 1970s. While many teams began to integrate, the Oaksville Eagles maintained an all-African American roster until the early 1980s.

The Oaksville Eagles