ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 54 (Winter 1995)
Baseball Calls: Arkansas Town Baseball in the Twenties
By DAVID D. DAWSON
BELOW THE FIGURES of several young men playing baseball, the newspaper advertisement reads, "The baseball diamond calss, boys. The sound of the ol' pill hittin the padded mitt or cracking against the ol'hickory will soon be 'your dish.'"(1) The aim of the 1926 advertisement was to sell baseball equipment for Draggett's Drug Store in Marianna, Arkansas, but the message went beyond peddling gloves,bats, masks and balls. These words were bound to arouse the senses of anyone who had played the game or been a fan. Come spring, baseball truly did call, and small towns in Arkansas responded with zeal.
Baseball's popularity as a community activity was enormous in Arkansas during the twenties. It was a game played not just by youngsters, as is the usual case in small towns today, but by adults as well. For instance, local Sunday schools often joined together to play baseball. In McGehee the Fats
David Dawson is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Arkansas. This article won the 1995 Arkansas Historical Association's Lucille Westbrook Award for Local History. In this article he focuses primarily on towns in eastern and southern Arkansas, their newspapers being the best available sources. However, baseball was played in small towns all over the state, as shown by reports of socres in the Arkansas Gazette (Arkansas Gazette, April 27, May 2,4, 5, June 10, 1924; June 5,7, July 8,9, 1925).
1 Marianna (AR) Courier-Index, April 22, 1926.