Thursday, March 26, 2009

Orioles in Asheville

We're still waiting for the season to start so I figured I'd share this little nugget as filler while there's a lull in the action...

I was up near Asheville, NC doing some hiking this past January and I headed into Asheville for some food and a beer run. I was cruising around, took a wrong turn and ended up out by McCormick Field where the Asheville Tourists play and where Crash Davis finished up his baseball career.

Anyway, I pulled in to take a look and the whole place was plastered with Orioles:

So there's Cal Sr., Cal, Jr., and Billy Ripken up top and there's Eddie Murray on the office door. What's the connection?

Evidently, Asheville was an Oriole farm club for a short time in the early 1970's. Eddie Murray played for Asheville in 1975 hitting .264 with 17 home runs at the tender age of 19. Cal Ripken, Sr. was a coach in Asheville in 1972.

However, connecting Billy and Cal Jr. to the 1972 Asheville Tourists is a bit sketchy. Cal, Jr. was 12 and Billy was 8 at the time. I'm sure they were on the field, shagging flies during batting practice or serving as batboys...but that's a huge stretch to claim the Ripken boys as part of the Asheville Tourist heritage.

And here's a banner with an interesting juxtaposition; a young Eddie Murray and a very young Willie Stargell who faced off against each other during the 1979 World Series.

By the way, when in Asheville, visit Bruisin' Ales for all your beery needs.

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