Bob Goetz has a great review up this morning in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican of a new history of North Country town baseball, written by former pro-ball player Bob Garrow. It’s called “The Only Game In Town.”
The author was pleasantly surprised by the information available from the very early days, before the 20th century.
“I didn’t think I would get much, but I was surprised to find as many accounts of games from the 1860s,” he reflected.
“It was very interesting, especially the language of the day, how things were written compared to today. For example, the pitcher’s mound was referred to as the box; and there was a lot of attention paid to the spectators and what happened in the stands. People used to follow town teams all over the place.”
I was in Moriah this fall for a big rivalry football game between the Vikings and the Saranac Lake Red Storm. I can only imagine what these town-to-town baseball clashes must have been like.
Then came television and other cultural changes which eroded the game in the 1960s.
“There was not a lot of money in baseball and certainly not enough to compete with so many forms of entertainment that came about in the fifties,” Garrow pointed out.
“Gone were the days when townsfolk beamed with pride for their teams, looking anxiously toward the weekend,” Garrow wrote.