Heron













Css Input Button by Free-Web-Buttons.com v2.0
Wilson Field, Galesville

  Wilson Field
Negro League Ball field
Main Street
Galesville, Maryland
Anne Arundel County

Context:

Located north off Main Street in Galesville, Anne Arundel County, the Galesville Ball Field (also known as Wilson Field) was the home of the Galesville Hot Sox.

History:

The Galesville Hot Sox began to play ball on the Wilson field in 1929, some fourteen years after the team originated. The team consisted of local players, who made their living during the week off the bounty of the Chesapeake and played baseball on the weekends. The players collected between $55 to $100 for the season, with payment at the end of the season. The members of the team not only provided the spectators with entertainment, they also furnished the food served in the concession stand. Visitors could have hot dogs, chicken, potato salad, and a local favorite, crab cakes; most treats cost less than twenty-five cents. (Makell 2000, 93)
In their first year of play at the Wilson field, the Hot Sox suffered only one loss during the season—to the Black Sox of the Negro Professional Baseball League. The Galesville team may have played sandlot baseball, but they “always played at least one Negro Professional League Team per season,” like the Baltimore Giants and the Indianapolis Clowns. (Makell 2000, 93-95)
Local fans enjoyed a long, continuous playing record that extends even to the present time. After moving to the Wilson field, the team only faced one major interruption, World War II, while the players served in our country’s military. According to John Makell, “[b]etween 1947-58 a total of 798 games were played with ninety-two games played during the 1948 season. Largest recorded attendance – 945 fans.” The field has met the local demands, as bleachers were added between 1946 and 1967. (Makell 2000, 94)
What local visitors saw in Galesville was a smaller version of a phenomenon that began in the late nineteenth century. The roots of black baseball began in the 1890s as a result of a league ban placed on “Negro” participation in baseball that remained in place until 1946. Black baseball teams emerged particularly in the Midwest around Chicago and in the eastern seaboard, between Philadelphia and New York City. But the Negro National League was not established until 1920, under the guidance of Rube Foster. The league lived a short life, as its leader passed away in 1930, leaving it vulnerable to outside pressures, particularly financial ones, in light of the Great Depression. The league would bounce back into existence. In 1933, when the second Negro National League came to life, and four years later, the Negro American League was born. The two leagues played each other in seven World Series between 1942 and 1948, only to disband after the last series was played. After Jackie Robinson signed on to play in the Major National Baseball league, the need for a separate baseball league was no longer evident; the Galesville Hot Sox integrated in 1967. (McNeil 2001, 1-6)

Description:

Still in operation, the stadium includes a 12 feet deep concession stand and wooden bleachers, consisting of six rows of seats measuring eleven inches deep. Both features accommodate the needs of fans for local and visiting teams.

The home and away teams each have a concrete block dugout. The playing field is 322 feet on the third base line by 310 feet on the first base line and it is enclosed by a wooden slate fence.

Preservation Plan:

The Wilson Field is still used today, but not by a local Galesville team. Teams from surrounding Maryland counties lease the field and carry out the tradition of playing games on Sundays. Currently, there are no plans to restore any of the structures at the field.

Contact:

Jack Smith (410) 867-1215
Gertrude Makell (410) 867-4612

Works Cited:

Makell, John, Personal Notes for speech given to Galesville Heritage Society, 2000.

McNeil, William F., Cool Papas and Double Duties: The All-Time Greats of the Negro Leagues, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2001.