Play Ball

Hutchison Mills Baseball Team

It’s baseball season again, and in the North Carolina Piedmont of about a century ago, that meant that all eyes would turn to the local mill teams. We found this picture of the Hutchison Mills team from Mount Holly, N.C. in the October 14, 1920 issue of Mill News, billed as “the great southern weekly for textile workers.”

There are a handful of recent histories of professional and semi-professional baseball in the Carolinas, but we were surprised that we couldn’t find any book-length discussions of the mill teams in North Carolina. There is a history of South Carolina’s mill teams: Thomas K. Perry’s Textile League Baseball: South Carolina’s Mill Teams, 1880-1955 (McFarland, 1993).

Many of the area’s teams are pictured in Chris Holaday’s Baseball in North Carolina’s Piedmont (Arcadia, 2002), part of the popular “Images of America” series. The prominence of the sport in and around the mill towns is well documented. In his book “My World Is Gone”: Memories of Life in a Southern Cotton Mill Town (Wayne State University Press, 2002), author George G. Suggs, Jr. devotes an entire chapter to baseball, writing, “Without a doubt, baseball was the sport that gripped the interest and imagination of workers in the Bladenboro Cotton Mills from the twenties through forties.”

2 thoughts on “Play Ball”

  1. My uncle, Jesse Jackson, played baseball with the “Spinners” for the Bladenboro Cotton Mills in Bladenboro, NC in the early 40’s. If anyone has any info or pictures of them I would greatly appreciate having a copy of it. Thanks

  2. I have a picture of five baseball players in Textile uniforms that I obtained from my father. There are not any names on the picture. If anyone would have any info I would appreciate learning all I could about the phone names of players, where & when the team played, etc.

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