My mission for today was to visit the North Carolina Baseball Museum. I plugged the address of the museum into Jack-in-the-Box, and I was off. It was only about four or five miles away. I easily found Fleming Stadium, but I sure was having trouble finding the museum.
The stadium was located in a residential area, and as I drove around looking for the museum I was happy to see this sign. I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant, but I hoped it would calm me down. Eventually I just pulled into a vacant grassy lot where quite a few cars seemed to be parked.
Finally, I walked through the open fence to the ball field, and asked where the museum was located. I found out there were four games going on today at the stadium, and got some directions.
The museum is right on the left outfield line of the stadium, but there is no sign on the back side of the building that faces the street. Seeing as I was the only visitor, the volunteer gave me a very detailed tour. There is a charge for this museum, but the price for old farts is just $1.00, so I was good to go. Somehow the gentleman surmised that I wasn’t from the area by my accent. Accent?? I’ve always thought I didn’t have an accent. I think it’s folks from North Carolina that have an accent!
Have you ever seen the movie “Bull Durham” starring Kevin Costner? Well if you have, the scene where they sneak into the ball field to turn the water sprinklers on to soak the field so the next day’s game will be cancelled was filmed at Fleming Stadium. This volunteer was just a wealth of knowledge about North Carolina and baseball.
Now I’m not a big fan of professional baseball and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy this museum. So instead of just randomly gazing at all those display cabinets of memorabilia, I asked if any players from North Carolina played for the Chicago Cubs. That put this guide on a mission to point out at least eight NC men that had played for the Cubs. As we moved along, he continued to tell me lots of interesting things about the players. This guy really knew his stuff!
Then it was on to room number two of the museum. I really have no interest in college ball, so half of that room just blurred past me. I did find two displays very interesting though. The first was on the Girl’s Professional Baseball League that was active in the 1940’s. (remember “A League of their Own”?) The other was on the Black Baseball League (I believe they were called the Negro League at that time) that existed before the integration of the sport. The person depicted on the right of the bottom left painting was “Peanut” Johnson; a black young lady that played as a pitcher in the men’s Negro League.
For a person who doesn’t follow professional sports, this museum was just the right size for me. I enjoyed my visit, appreciated the knowledge of my guide, and even got a chance to play that antique baseball game pictured in the lower right. It involved hitting a marble with a little wooden bat something like a non-electric pin ball machine. It was hard, and I flied out!
It was just my good luck that a ball game was about to begin as I finished my tour of the museum. Many famous baseball players have played at the historic Fleming Stadium such as Ted Williams. (even I’ve heard of him) I asked if I could just take a few photos of the field without having to pay to watch the games, and was told to go ahead and take my time. I always wondered what it would be like to have a seat behind home base.
I did find a seat close to the action and watched the first half of the first inning of a game. The players are from different NC area fall teams, and these young men looked to be about 16 or 17 years of age.
Now I find watching this kind of baseball game most exciting and enjoyable. You don’t have all those delays found in professional sports, and the kids have lots of talent and give their all. I was sucked right in and was clapping away as the pitcher caught a line drive for the last out. I really could have sat there all afternoon, but I had other things to see and do.
Remember that Traffic Calming Sign? Well what that really means down here is a series of speed humps (not bumps) to slow traffic down around the stadium. I, being the goody two shoes that I am, proceeded very slowly to find my way back to the rig…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy