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May 8, Fort Smith Historical Society
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Paul Dean Jr. with Jim and Susan Yeager Elwin "Preacher" Roe Mr. and Mrs. Paul Dean
Backroads and Ballplayers ...Stories of more than 50 rural Arkansas ball players. Ordering information below or Amazon
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Backroads and Ballplayers
Travel down almost any back road in Arkansas and you will pass a relic of Arkansas’ sports history. The dilapidated back stops and the remains of long-neglected dugouts are a disappearing visual image of a rural baseball history long forgotten.
In the first half of the 20th century, baseball was the chosen sport of farmers, coal miners, timber cutters, and even sharecroppers. No educational affiliation was required, and elementary school drop-outs were welcome. If someone could buy a ball, or even make one, and procure a bat or two, the game was on. The three acres or so needed to play were readily available, as was the creek for the after-game bath.
These are rural Arkansas' Fields of Dreams. Stop the car, get out, and walk out to the forgotten ball field. Sit in the rickety dugout, and look out at the field. See the game? The players of your imagination are an important part of our heritage. This book is an attempt to keep the stories of these rural baseball players alive.
firstname.lastname@example.org Read more by Jim Yeager in onlyinark.com
Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It's no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out.
I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.
I never felt more at home in America than at a ball game.
“Ray. People will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. "Of course, we won't mind if you look around", you'll say, "It's only $20 per person". They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh...people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”― James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams
Link to: The People's Game
Arkansas Democrat Gazette 8-4-2018
REX NELSON WRITES ABOUT BACKROADS AND BALLPLAYERS IN THE ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE
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Russellville, AR 72801
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