Baseball in the Wiregrass

While the Ray City baseball team wasn’t up for league play, the Valdosta “Otters” and other Wiregrass teams formed various associations.  The Empire State League of 1913 included Brunswick, Waycross, Cordele, Thomasville, and Americus, GA.

1909 Rays Mill Diamondmen Sweltered in July Heat

Organized baseball was played in Berrien County, GA at least as early as the 1880s (see 1884 Memoriam to the Alapaha Boys of Summer). By the early 1900s practically every town in America sported a baseball team, and Ray City, GA was no exception.

The local team was the public face of the town. A city with a professional baseball team was a city to be reckoned with; a city with a winning professional team was a winner.”  – Society for American Baseball Research

Over the years, Ray City has produced a number of high school, college and minor league baseball players and coaches, and at least one player who made it to the major league.  But from sporting news in the state newspapers, it appears that in the summer of 1909 the Ray City (then known as Rays Mill) team struggled against other local teams .

The  July 1, 1909 edition of the Atlanta Georgian and News reported that the Rays Mill team gave up a series to Milltown, two games to one:

MILLTOWN WINS SERIES.
Milltown, Ga., July 1. – in a hotly contested bame [sic] of baseball Milltown won its second victory from Rays Mill by the score of 5 to 4. The game was played on Milltown’s new diamond. Schucker and Shaw did the
battery work for the home team, while Sellman and Shaw did the same duties for the visitors. Schucker, for the home team, only gave up three hits, struck out fifteen men and did on walk but one man. Sellman, of the visitors, gave up seven hits, walked two men and struck out nine men. Milltown has played three games with Rays Mill, winning the first , 16 to 2, and the second game went to Rays Mill by the score of 5 to 6 in ten innings. The milltown team was composed of all home players.

The Rays Mill team followed up with another loss to the Nashville team.

Atlanta Georgian and News, Jul. 6, 1909 — page 10
NASHVILLE 10, RAYS MILL 3.
Nashville, Ga., July 6. – The Nashville team met and defeated the Rays Mill team Monday by the score of 10 to 3.  J. Hill, of Nashville, did not allow a single hit. He made four hits out of five times up.
NASHVILLE 8, BANNOCKBURN 4.
Nashville, Ga., July 6. – The Bannockburn ball club came over to Nashville Monday and was defeated by the Nashville second nine by the score of 8 to 4. Thompson pitched for the visitors, while E. Griner pitched for the home club.

Regardless of the home team wins or losses, the Ray City baseball team remained popular for decades.  Soon, home games were being hosted on the diamond at Mayhaw Lake Resort . Later, the team played on an open field next to the tracks of the Georgia & Florida Railroad and Jones Street.

Related Posts

The Empire State League: South Georgia Baseball in 1913

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