Textile league baseball was once huge in the Carolinas, and in 1937 the team representing Asheboro’s Acme-McCrary hosiery mill made it all the way to the national championship tourney in Wichita, Kansas.
Here and here are some colorful recollections of the team — hat tip to randolphhistory.wordpress.com — including photos of not only players but also a surviving (and obviously game-worn) uniform.
Interestingly, the eagle on this pinback button isn’t the one on the uniform sleeve patch, which mimics the one symbolizing FDR’s National Recovery Act.
8 thoughts on “When textiles thrived, so did textile league baseball”
Lew, your NC Miscellany post this morning brings back some great memories. Having grown up in Asheboro in the 1940s and 1950s, the McCrary Eagles were an important part of my life. I remember the cross-town rivalry between the Eagles and Lucas Industries. In those early days, before McCrary Field was built, the games were played at Lindley Field, which was just a couple of blocks from my house. Each summer there was the “North Carolina Semi-Pro Baseball Tournament” which was sponsored by the Asheboro Lions Club. My dad was club president in 1946. Teams like the Siler City Millers, the Robersonville Rams, the Winston-Salem Clippers, and the Chatham Blanketeers from Elkin came to Asheboro for the tournament. It was a big deal.
McCrary Mills also sponsored a basketball team, and on December 1, 1956, the UNC Tar Heels came to the McCrary Recreation Center to play an exhibition game. A crowd of 1500 turned out. I was one of the 1500. With less than eight minutes to go in the game, the Eagles led 61 to 59, but in the end, the Tar Heels won 84 to 70. And as everybody remembers the 56-57 Tar Heels went on to win 32 straight games and the NCAA Championship. Following that magical season, I remember hearing UNC Head Coach Frank McGuire make a speech to the Asheboro Lions Club and he said, “…we were really 33 and 0. We beat the McCrary Eagles to start the season.”
Thanks, Jack. Blanketeers makes my list of all-time favorite team names….
Does anyone have any information on a tournament in 1937 called the ” Unique Semi Pro Championship”? Played in Winston Salem,NC. My father in law was a player then and we have a baseball signed by the players. They won the Championship. The only team that I know for sure that he palyed on was “The Chatham Blanketeers”. His name was BEN WOODRUFF. Any information would certainly be appreciated.
My dad played shortstop for the Chatham Blanketeers in the late 40s-1950. Back when Tige Harris was coach. Always fun to read about the old textile leagues.
Looking some history of mill team Hudson Hosiery baseball team my uncle played for them.
My grandfather, Lester Linwood White, played for Carolina Mills textile semi pro baseball team. Does anyone remember him?( Probably not, he would be 100 today. ) He passed in 1990. Maiden, NC
Anyone out there have any info, pics, etc, of the Oine Red Devils, a semi-pro baseball in the late forties to mid fifties in Oine, Warren County, North Carolina. My dad played second base for the team and the team had 3 of his cousins also on the team. I recall attending the games, which were played on Saturdays and Sundays throughout most of the summer. Every weekend that’s what our family did, go to see the Red Devils play. The baseball field was in Oine, which then and now consists of 2-3 stores. If you drive north on I-85 when you get to the Oine turnoff if you look to the left of the road you will see a bunch of pine trees, that’s where the baseball diamond was. I hope someone out there has more about the Red Devils than I do. Too bad I didn’t care enough when these folks were alive to ask questions about the team. I never asked my dad and now it’s too late as he passed away in 1995.
My dad, “Bing” Dunlap (Paul Bingham Dunlap, Sr.) pitched for the Rockingham Red Sox. I have an article where he pitched in a game around 1938 against The McCrary Eagles. Any one have anything else on him?