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When Appalachia Loses Baseball

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https://www.ozy.com/html/need-to-know/when-appalachia-loses-baseball/381608/

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Bluefield, West Virginia, is nicknamed “Nature’s Air-Conditioned City” because its forested hills insulate it from harsh heat. The landmarks, like South Gap and Rocky Gap, are so named because they offer gaps in the Appalachian hills used for getting from here to there. One of those hills rises up behind the center field fence of Bowen Field at Peters Park in Bluefield, where the Toronto Blue Jays have had their rookie team since 2011. Longtime scout Melvin Didier says the mountainous backdrop is “the best scenery in all of baseball.” There is history to go with the landscape. Once upon a time, Bluefield was called Little New York because it bustled in the late 1880s courtesy of the coal boom. In the 1920s, it had a skyline that included a Montgomery Ward building and the West Virginia Hotel, said to be the tallest building east of the Mississippi that was not in New York. Coal barons built opulent mansions in nearby Bramwell, which was dubbed “Millionaires’ Town” because of local lore that more millionaires per capita lived there than anywhere else in the U.S.

 

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o

 

I went to see the Bluefield Orioles numerous times in different places, such as Danville, VA, and Burlington, NC.

I have a Bluefield Orioles hat.

 

The Orioles' affiliation with Bluefield was the longest-ever between a Major League and a Minor League club ...... 53 seasons, from 1958 through 2010.

 

 

 

2008 Yankees Orioles Regular Season Final Game Hat Cap | eBay

 

o

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10 hours ago, OFFNY said:

o

 

I went to see the Bluefield Orioles numerous times in different places, such as Danville, VA, and Burlington, NC.

I have a Bluefield Orioles hat.

 

The Orioles' affiliation with Bluefield was the longest-ever between a Major League and a Minor League club ...... 53 seasons, from 1958 through 2010.

 

 

 

2008 Yankees Orioles Regular Season Final Game Hat Cap | eBay

 

o

I went to college about 60 miles from Bluefield and always thought I'd go see a game, but never did.

It didn't help that the season was played completely during the summer months when I wasn't in school.,

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On 9/22/2020 at 1:35 PM, OFFNY said:

o

 

I went to see the Bluefield Orioles numerous times in different places, such as Danville, VA, and Burlington, NC.

I have a Bluefield Orioles hat.

 

The Orioles' affiliation with Bluefield was the longest-ever between a Major League and a Minor League club ...... 53 seasons, from 1958 through 2010.

 

 

 

2008 Yankees Orioles Regular Season Final Game Hat Cap | eBay

 

o

AWESOME hat!!!!

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When I was a teenager my family used to vacation in West Virginia in our pop-up camper, and Pipestem State Park isn't terribly far from Bluefield.  I got my parents to drive down to a game one time, but just as we pulled into the parking lot it was called due to rain.

Isn't Bowen Field the place with the basketball hoop on the center field fence, and the batter wins something if he hits it through?

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I went to Bluefield a few times back in the early 2000s, once by myself and once I took the family along because of how beautiful it was there.

It really is ashamed area is going to lose affiliated baseball, but it would make a pretty damn nice summer college league.

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