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History Lesson: Baseball, railroads equally big in Brunswick – The Frederick News-Post Online

In 1981 Brunswick won the 11-12-year-old state Little League title when it beat St. Mary’s, 6-1, in the tournament title game in Salisbury. Joey Walden hit a three-run homer in the game. It was Brunswick’s second straight win in the best-of-three playoffs after winning the first game, 5-2.Reading that article and attending this year’s 10-11 state championship Little League game in Brunswick reminded me just how big baseball is in that town. I noticed it when I first came to Frederick in 1967 and saw how well Brunswick supported its baseball teams.The 1981 title was the third for Brunswick, which had also won the state championship in 1966 and 1969. A look at the Brunswick Little League website showed that Brunswick later won state titles in 1984, 1986, 1995 and 2010. In 1986, Brunswick became the only Frederick County team to advance to the Little League 11-12 World Series.Soon after Brunswick won the 1981 state title, former News-Post sports writer and Brunswick area resident Molly Dunham wrote a story on how much the people of that town love baseball. “Baseball is a family tradition of practically every family in Brunswick,” then-mayor Jess Orndorff said in the story. “It’s always been baseball and railroads since the town was chartered.”"Baseball must be part of the requirements of being born here,” city administrator Mitch Deener said. “If your parents don’t have at least one gene that contains the ability to throw a curve ball, you’re not allowed to be born here.”As best I can tell, the town has never lost its passion for baseball. I covered several Little League games at Brunswick this year and the crowds were good. It was 100 degrees when Brunswick beat Valley, 14-0, to win the state 10-11 title, but there was still a lot of fans in the stands. Nothing can keep the people of Brunswick away from baseball. Baseball overcame another racial barrier in 1971, when Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the first player from the old Negro Leagues elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. But there was some controversy. At first, he had been voted in as part of a special category, just for Negro League players. But many protested, saying that was not the same as being elected to the Hall.Eventually, baseball officials came to their senses and agreed. Paige would be inducted along with the others that were enshrined that year. Paige first pitched in the majors in 1948, when he was 42 years old, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. He pitched six seasons in the majors. But he started his career in the old Negro League in 1926. At the induction ceremony, Paige said he would like to manage in the majors one day, but didn’t think that would ever happen. He didn’t envision a black man managing in the majors.”I don’t think the white is ready to listen to the colored yet,” he said.Four years later, Frank Robinson became the first black manager in major league baseball.1971 Jeff Comer threw a one-hitter as Frederick beat Calvert, 10-0, to win the state’s first 13-year-old Babe Ruth title. A goal-line stand in the final seconds of play gave the Frederick Falcons a 14-13 win over Ridley Township, Pa.1981 Mike Dorsey hit a two-run homer in the ninth, giving Frederick a 9-8 win over Westminster and the Western Maryland district American Legion title. Bill Carey threw a no-hitter as Metro New York beat Frederick, 4-0, and eliminated the local team from the 13-15 regional Babe Ruth Tournament. Frederick finished 2-2 in tournament play. Two thousand fans crowded into McCurdy Field to see legendary softball pitcher Eddie Feigner and his “King and His Court” team beat New Market, 4-3. Feigner would come to Frederick a lot in those days and always drew big crowds. In an interview before the game, he said he had no plans to retire. He refused to give his age, but he was 56 at the time.1991The UDHL team of Pennsylvania beat Frederick, 7-4, in the Babe Ruth regional 13-year-old championship game at McCurdy Field. Orioles second baseman Billy Ripken had one hit in four at bats in a rehab assignment with the Frederick Keys. He had been out for about a month with a strained muscle in his rib cage.2001 Gary Liddick ran his first practice as the rookie coach at Thomas Johnson and veteran coach Tim Ambrose of Middletown returned for his 28th season at Middletown as high school football practices opened in Frederick County. Since announcing he would retire at the end of the season, Cal Ripken went on a hot streak. The Orioles third baseman has hit .348 in his last 45 games to raise his batting average from .210 to .276. He had nine home runs during the streak.

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