LMT Stop #43: Huntington, WV

Excellent Adventure Day # 81

Like it Was Never There

If I told you that a team in 1991 was in a large metro area that had a ballpark whose grandstand was older than Fenway and Wrigley, an adorable mascot and a brand new team you would think they’d have had a long and storied history by now right?

That’s not how it happened in Huntington, West Virginia…stop #90 on Bill & Sue’s Excellent Adventure.

The Trip

The Video

Wonder what Jason Sehorn did before he was a hunky football player? Tonight’s video will tell you.

On Deck

One more game in West Virginia tomorrow, its on to the state capital in Charleston, the 1991 home of the Charleston Wheelers.

LMT Stops #41 & 42: Elizabethton & Johnson City, TN

Excellent Adventure Day # 80

An Unforgettable Night at the Halfway Point

The Unforgettable Beauty of Joe O’Brien Field in Elizabethton, TN

Eighty days into “Bill & Sue’s Excellent Adventure: we reached the halfway point of our ballpark quest, we visited park #89 -halfway to the 178 we saw in the spring, summer and fall of 1991.

It was the third in three consecutive days of seeing two parks in the same day within the friendly confines of the Appalachian League; we saw Joe O’Brien Field in Elizabethton, TN first and then drove eight miles to see Howard Johnson Field, the home of the Johnson City Cardinals.

The Trip

The Video

In tonight’s video I mention three different stories that each add some interesting background and context to our story. Here are the links to each of them

The Longtime Groundskeeper of Baseball Paradise

https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Baseball/2018/06/16/McQueen-s-Field-of-Dreams-is-his-front-yard.html

The Back Story Behind the Berm

https://www.heraldcourier.com/sports/appy-ballparks-hill-down-pennant-up-at-howard-johnson/article_9b1b3877-04aa-5999-9284-01fa64121837.html

Everything you ever wanted to know about Kudzu

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/true-story-kudzu-vine-ate-south-180956325/

Baseball Today

Both the Elizabethton Twins and the Johnson City Cardinals are playing right where they were when we saw them in 1991. This is true of very few other places we saw that season. If you like baseball or beautiful historic places or better yet both, you should go…really. As noted in previous posts, there is a proposal being considered that could put these teams at risk. You should see them as soon as you get a chance.

In fact, since I’m wrapping up my posts about the Appy League teams that still exist tonight, I’d say this is true about the whole league. Maybe instead of spring training next year take a week next summer and head for the mountains. The Appalachian League is a true throwback and you will come back with a renewed sense of hope for America’s Pastime. I might just see you there.

On Deck

Tomorrow on the Low Mileage Tour it is the last stop in the Appalachian League. The Huntington Cubs are long gone but we will visit with their 1991 edition on Sunday.

LMT Stops #39 & 40: Princeton, WV & Bluefield, VA

Excellent Adventure Day # 79

Historic Partnerships

Right on the border..and I mean right on the border of West Virginia and Virginia lies the old coal city of Bluefield (there’s actually a town of that name in both states and they are right next to each other) and we straddled the state line heading into the park that night.

But Day #79 of “Bill & Sue’s Excellent Adventure was another “double day,” where we saw two parks in the same day and thus today’s account begins with our first stop on that Wednesday evening, Hunnicutt Field in Princeton, WV.

The Trip

The Video

It didn’t really occur to me until I was watching the raw footage from Princeton and Bluefield this week but, unlike most of our Excellent Adventure” I have a few regrets about this evening…tonight’s video explains why.

Baseball Today

In 1991 the Bluefield Orioles had been affiliated with its parent club for what felt like forever while the Princeton team was brand new to its affiliation with Cincinnati. But the historical tables have turned in the years since. Both towns are still in the Appalachian League but Bluefield is now in its tenth season as the Bluefield Blue Jays while Princeton has been affiliated with Tampa Bay since 1997, the Princeton Rays have been affiliated with its parent club for the team’s entire existence and a new Hall of Fame Wall at Hunnicutt Field lists the many Tampa Bay players that began their careers there.

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On Deck

Tomorrow on the Low Mileage Tour; it is the last of three straight days of two parks in the same day as we return to Eastern Tennessee and visit the Elizabethton Twins and the Johnson City Cardinals as we did on Thursday June 27, 1991.

Happy Friday, Enjoy the Weekend!