Nearly 60 people gathered to hear about Wenatchee's baseball history as part of the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center's Afternoon Program Series.
Chris King with the AppleSox recounted the Wenatchee area’s more than 100-year old love of the game by talking about the days of town ball, when nearly every company, club and organization had its very own team.
He led off with a story about the first baseball game in Wenatchee, which took place in the late 1800s.
He talked about the days when baseball greats like Satchel Paige, Bob Feller and other Hall of Famers would come and play exhibition games with local all stars.
He also talked about the barn storming days when quirky teams like the famous House of David would come and play local teams. Hall of famer Grover Cleveland Alexander, an ex-Navy man who enjoyed his libations nearly as much as he did his baseball, pitched a game for the House of David in Wenatchee.
In the 20s and 30s, before television, American baseball fans turned out in droves to see these traveling teams play, and Alexander once said: “You want to see the world, join the Navy. You want to see the US, join the House of David baseball team.”
In fact in 1924 the Brooklyn Dodgers themselves traveled to play an exhibition game in Wenatchee and afterward four of the Dodgers got so drunk and rowdy in the hotel that after causing $200 in damage and beating up a bellboy they were thrown in jail. It took so long to get them bailed out that the team were forced to traveled on without them. The next night the Dodgers lost to the Everett Seagulls in what some call, “the biggest baseball upset in Washington state history.”
And of course King spoke about the Wenatchee Chiefs, the local minor league team established in 1937, which was a huge part of local sports culture for 25 years.
In addition to the tales of years past there was vintage memorabilia on hand, such as the Wenatchee Chiefs batboy and mascot Dale Noyd’s old jersey.
Noyd, who would reportedly received the largest ovations of all during home games.
His jersey, as well as other old Chiefs memorabilia such as signed baseballs and a championship ring will be on display soon at the Museum as a part of the coming Wenatchee baseball history exhibit.
One ex-Chiefs player actually came to the lecture this afternoon as well. Bill Osborn, one of the Chiefs pitchers in 1947 who received a round of applause from the crowd when introduced.
To learn more about the history of baseball in Wenatchee, visit the Museum Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.
And if you have any Wenatchee baseball memorabilia please contact the Museum!
Article courtesy of Dominick Bonney and the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center Blog.