THE MAYOR'S REPORT: Play ball!

Ben Thomas Jr., Greencastle mayor
Echo Pilot

So, I author this report on Valentine’s Day! I hope you were able to enjoy this day with the ones you love. My prayer is for those who have lost loved ones. May the memories of those you love outlast your loss.

Tina and I just looked at each other and simultaneously said, let’s fix some hot tea! The Bean & Biscuit mugs were a Christmas gift and the hot tea is really hitting the spot this afternoon as I peer out the back windows with the snow cover that remains. Please join me for a “tea break.” 

This photo of a Greencastle baseball team at Jerome R. King Playground, courtesy of Harry Myers, was probably taken in the 1930s.

With all of this snow, it’s good to see the registration sign up banners for the spring baseball/softball season. Sign up locally was this past Saturday. I typically stop by and see if they would let me register, however, with COVID and my birth certificate showing signs of deterioration, I decided to pass. Oh well, this south-paw (left hander) will just sit out another season. Some wonderful news! A reliable source tells me there may be lots of baseball at the Jerome R. King Playground this season. So, get out those lawn chairs as baseball returns to the King Playground as well as baseball and softball at the association’s fields between North Washington and North Allison streets. 

This past fall, Harry Myers gave me a historic 8- x 10-inch photograph of a Greencastle baseball team that will be donated to the Allison-Antrim Museum. There are 14 players pictured with a “G” on their baseball uniform shirts. The King Playground bandshell appears to be in the background. No names are listed. There are no dates or names on the back of the photo. My theory is that the team was from the 1930s. As written in “Cavalcade of Champions” published by the Jerome R. King Playground Association, many winning teams were on record in the 1930s. Teams listed had 11 players. Baseball lagged locally and was put on hold during World War II. The Blue Ridge League began in 1945 with teams from Franklin County, Hagerstown, Md., and Martinsburg, W.Va. 

In 1983, retired G-A School Superintendent W.P. Conrad authored “Glory Land, A History of Greencastle’s Negro Community.” According to Mr. Conrad’s research many African-American athletes hailed from Greencastle. I had the pleasure of knowing several of these men so named in the book in their senior years. Page 34 writings include “EARLY ATHLETES,” stating “integration in sports did not occur until the civil rights movement of the 1960s’ for scholastics and collegiate sports.” Lance “Lover” Roscoe is noted as “perhaps the fastest sprinter of his time.” Mr. Roscoe used to cut my and my Mother’s hair in his barbershop located  in the south-east corner of Center Square.

Jack Dixon’s Giants was a local softball team that had an independent schedule playing at the J.R. King playground. Anyway ... come on baseball season! I wish I would have invented those neat “bag lawn chairs” about 50 years ago!

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Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

I close with my continued support for our local businesses. Small businesses are eligible to apply for PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) funds. Only 36% of the $100 billion of federal funds has been distributed. If you’re a small business owner, contact your bank for details. I again ask our citizens to shop local when possible. 

In two weeks, I’ll write about the continued opioid crisis along with how budgeting in Pennsylvania works among the 2,562 municipal governments. I also desire to write about our wonderful borough employees, their training, and the services they provide. Stay tuned. Hope you will join me.

Remember ... we are blessed.