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.