The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History presents History Talks: The History of Minor League Baseball in Mount Airy this Saturday at 2 p.m., led by former Mount Airy commissioner and baseball enthusiast David Beal.
The free presentation will focus on Chubby Dean, the Mount Airy Reds, and the Graniteers from the 1930s through the 1940s.
According to the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History’s website, “almost every town of any size in North Carolina had a professional minor league baseball team” and Mount Airy had two teams: the Mount Airy Reds from 1934-1937 and the Graniteers from 1938-1941, then again from 1946-1950, after the World War II.
The Blue Ridge League ended in 1950 when the Graniteers won the league championship, and that was the end of minor league baseball in the area. Players who settled in the Mount Airy area still participate in reunions each year.
David Beal said the talk would focus on the 1930s Mount Airy Reds team “who played their games at the old Floyd Poore Park, which is now the football stadium for Mount Airy High School” and the “late 30s through the 40s team the Mount Airy Graniteers, who played their games at a field once located where city hall is now.”
“We will talk about how baseball affected small towns throughout North Carolina and how the fans reacted to having a hometown team in a town of around 5 or 6,000 people.”
Chubby Dean also will be a part of Beal’s presentation. Beal said he was, as far as he can tell, the “only native-born Mount Airyian to ever play in the major leagues, for the Philadelphia Athletics.”
Chubby Dean died years ago, but Beal said he feels fortunate to have a history of his career and thinks it is important to share the history with the people of Mount Airy.
Beal said he grew up in a family who loved baseball. His uncle Bobby Beal was a lifetime minor league player and coach, who played throughout the state and with teams “all the way to AAA baseball.” Beal was a bat boy for his uncle’s baseball teams when he was growing up, and he has played and/or coached baseball for most of his life.
Beal also spent 20 years as a volunteer in the front office of the Winston-Salem Spirits and the Warthogs (now the Dash). For the past two years he has been the public address announcer for Mount Airy High School’s baseball games.
“This will be an informal discussion of baseball and I hope folks who attend will feel free to ask questions or share their experiences. We hope several of the remaining Graniteer baseball players will be present, if they are able to come. This will be fun for those who enjoy baseball and the history of our area.”
Beal said he will bring baseball memorabilia, pictures and items for attendees to examine.
The presentation is Saturday on the third floor of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The presentation is free. For more information, call the museum at 786-4478 or email email@example.com.
Contact Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.