Maryland’s Baseball Sites
Marylanders are so crazy about baseball, it’s surprising that “America’s pastime” isn’t Maryland’s official state sport. (That honor goes to jousting, by the way.) But baseball is the sport that boasts the most museums and memorials throughout the state, along with a good dose of legend and local lore, including the following:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
When this state-of-the-art ballpark opened in 1992, it was all the rage among baseball fans. The stadium was designed using elements from some of the other great American ballparks. Visitors can learn about the architectural elements of the stadium and some great information about the team on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark. Stops include the press box, a corporate skybox and the dugout. Oriole Park bears the distinction of being the only major-league ballpark to serve crab cakes – and as an added taste treat – fans often find former Oriole first baseman Boog Powell manning his barbeque cooker among the food stalls. 333 W Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-685-9800, www.theorioles.com
Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum
Babe Ruth, one of the most famous players in the history of the game, was born in his grandparents’ rowhouse in Baltimore in 1895. The house has been preserved and transformed into a museum that pays homage to “The Sultan of Swat” through photos, film clips and memorabilia. There is also an exhibit on the elite “500 Home Run Club” members. 216 Emory Street, Baltimore, MD 21230, 410-727-1539, www.baberuthmuseum.com
Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame
Located at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, home of the minor league Delmarva Shorebirds, this museum plays homage to the players and a sport that stirs much passion among Eastern Shore residents. 6400 Hobbs Road, Salisbury, MD 21802, 410-219-3112, www.theshorebirds.com
Jimmie Foxx Statue and Sudlersville Train Station Museum
A life-size bronze statue of Jimmie Foxx was erected in his hometown of Sudlersville on the Eastern Shore in 1997, the 90th anniversary of his birth. The train station, an 1885 passenger station, includes a museum with Jimmie Foxx memorabilia. Foxx, who played for the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox, retired in 1945 and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951. Train station is at Route 300 and Linden Avenue, Sudlersville, MD 21668, 410-438-3501
Lefty Grove Memorial at Lonaconing Iron Furnace and Park
Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove was born in the Western Maryland coal mining town of Lonaconing on March 6, 1900. Lefty joined the minor league Baltimore Orioles in 1920 and began what some say is the greatest pitching career in the history of the game, moving into the big leagues in 1924, eventually to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A memorial plaque resides at the Lonaconing Iron Furnace and Park.
Additionally, the George’s Creek Regional Library in Lonaconing displays Lefty’s Most Valuable Player trophy (the first awarded to an American League player) and other memorabilia from his career. For information on Lonaconing, contact the Allegany County Office of Tourism, 13 Canal Place, Cumberland, MD 21502, 800-425-2067, www.mdmountainside.com
Sports Legends at Camden Yards
The Babe Ruth Museum and Birthplace has long been a favorite stop for baseball enthusiasts. But the museum’s sister property, located within the historic train station adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, pays homage not only to the Babe and his preferred sport, but indeed to all sports that have had an impact on Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic region and the nation as a whole. Included among the exhibits are tributes to the Baltimore Orioles, the former Baltimore Colts, the current Baltimore Ravens, Negro Leagues, the state sport of jousting, the uniquely Baltimore method of “duckpin” bowling, lacrosse and countless other aspects of Maryland’s sporting heritage. Because it’s located in a historic structure, the museum also focuses on the history of the railroad in America, the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s visits to Camden Station. 301 W Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-727-1539, www.baberuthmuseum.com
St. Paul’s Catholic Church
It was here in the granite church sitting high above picturesque Ellicott City where George Herman “Babe” Ruth tied the knot with his first wife, the former Helen Woodford, on October 17, 1914. Today’s visitors learn about the Sultan of Swat’s nuptials as part of the historic mill town’s regular ghost tours. Howard County Tourism Council, 8267 Main Street, Ellicott City, MD 21043, 410-313-1900, www.visithowardcounty.com
“Swish” Nicholson Statue
A statue to honor William “Swish” Nicholson, who was born, attended college and retired in the Eastern Shore town of Chestertown, was erected in one of the town’s squares in 1992. Located at the entrance to the county visitor center, the statue depicts Nicholson swinging his bat and is a testament to his nickname. (He was dubbed “Swish” because of the sound his bat made.) Nicholson played for the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. For information about Chestertown, contact the Kent County Tourism Development Office Visitor’s Center at 122 North Cross St., Chestertown, MD 21620. 410-778-0416, www.kentcounty.com
Maryland’s Minor League Baseball Teams
Though Maryland is one of the smallest states, it is home to an impressive number of minor league baseball teams – six, to be exact. How’s that for an indication of how devoted the state is to the sport? The teams’ season stretches from April through September, and attending a minor league game makes for an entertaining and inexpensive family outing. The teams offer children’s programs, fireworks shows and promotions throughout the season.
873 Long Drive
Aberdeen, MD 21001
The IronBirds are owned by the Ripken family and play at Ripken Stadium in the family’s hometown of Aberdeen. They’re a New York-Penn League short-season A Orioles affiliate. Next door to the stadium is Hall of Famer Cal Ripken’s baseball academy, which boasts youth fields that host camps, clinics and tournaments throughout the summer.
4101 Crain Highway NE
Bowie, MD 20716
Main Office 301-805-6000; Box Office 301-464-4865
The Baysox, a Class AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, play at Prince George’s Stadium. The town of Bowie is ideally situated near Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.
6400 Hobbs Road
Salisbury, MD 21804
The Shorebirds are a Class A affiliate of the Orioles. The “Birds” have another winged connection – they play at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, named for a member of the Perdue chicken empire. (Chicken farming helps drive the economy on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.)
21 Stadium Drive
Frederick, MD 21703
Named for native son Francis Scott Key, who penned the words that later became the United States’ national anthem, the Keys are a Class A affiliate of the Orioles. They play at Harry Grove Stadium, which includes a giant amusement area complete with a carousel, inflatables and boardwalk-style games.
274 E. Memorial Boulevard
Hagerstown, MD 21740
The Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals were the first minor league team with a major league affiliation in the State of Maryland, and play in professional baseball's third oldest stadium. While affiliated with the Orioles several years ago, the Suns are drawing in crowds with the Washington Nationals connection. They’re a huge hit with fans, who pack Municipal Stadium to see them play and who have made the team Hagerstown’s top gated attraction.
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Legendary Baltimore Orioles third baseman, Brooks Robinson, is the proud owner of Maryland’s newest baseball team, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The Blue Crabs will play against the eight-team Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs at Regency Furniture Stadium.
In addition to the major and minor league teams, Maryland goes extra innings each summer with a collegiate wooden-bat league named after Cal Ripken, Sr., one of the nation’s most admired baseball coaches.
Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League
Playing in community ballparks throughout Central Maryland and the District of Columbia, this league brings together some of the best college stars. Many have gone on to sign for major league teams such as the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies. The Maryland teams in the league are listed below. PO Box 22471, Baltimore, MD, 21203-4471, 410-588-9900, www.ripkencollegebaseball.org
Bethesda Big Train - Home Field: Shirley Povitch Field, Bethesda
PO Box 30306, Bethesda, MD 20824
College Park Bombers
5033 56th Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781
10819 Sandringham Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030
410-823-3399 x 118
Rockville Express - Home Field: Knight’s Field, Rockville
PO Box 10188, Rockville, MD 20849
Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts - Home Field: Montgomery Blair
Stadium, Silver Spring
906 Glaizewood Court, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Youse’s Maryland Orioles - Home Field: Bachman Field, Glen Burnie
6451 St. Phillips Road, Linthicum, MD 21090