Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Say hey, Hagerstown

With Wednesday’s news that there may be a deal in the works to keep the Suns minor-league team in Hagerstown, we’re reminded of Hagerstown’s place in baseball history.

We’re not talking about how Hagerstown was briefly the home of Washington Nationals wunderkind Bryce Harper. Hagerstown has had professional baseball off and on since 1915, though there was a big gap from the 1950s until 1980s.

However, in June 1950, Hall of Famer Willie Mays — who should be on anyone’s short list of the greatest players ever — played his first professional game in Hagerstown as a newly signed member of the New York Giants’ Trenton, N.J., minor-league club.

Mays has recalled Hagerstown of those days as a terrible place for a black ballplayer, where he was subjected to racist catcalls whenever he took the field. But Mays was invited back to Hagerstown by the Suns in 2004, and, upon his visit, he said he had forgiven the town for the way he was treated.

One comment

  1. I was raised, in Hagerstown, Md., and was around when this happened to Willie Mays. Yes this did happen, and he was invited back, and was treated well, as an apology, to what happened to him years before. I left Hagerstown, in 1958, after graduating from North St. High School. The last all black high school graduation was in 1956,(my class) then intergration of schools started. I left Hagerstown, after I was rejected, admission, to Washington Co. Hospital School of Nursing. I went to Henryton State Hospital, who had a LPN, program. All black, tuberculosis hospital, and from there I went to Baltimore City Hospitals, Baltimore, Md, where I received my certificate for LPN. Thru marriage and child birth, I continued to study at CCB, school of Nursing, where I received my RN certificate, still struggling I transfered to U of Md, where I received, a BSN. They did not deter me or stop me. They did slow me down. I came from a family, who taught us to fight, although sometimes it ceemed everything was against me. Thanks be to God, along with others, I made it