Return to First Page ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 54 (Winter 1995) p.410
and Leans, men from the town's various Sunday school classes, played for charity. The response of the local newspaper in 1924 reflects the support for continuing such events:
It has been suggested that the town of McGhee declare a half holiday each Thursday after 3 p.m. and everyone go to the ball park for a lot of good old time fun and amusement. This, it seems to us, will be a very fine thing to keep up the spirit of fellowship and good will among the people of the town. (2)
Sunday school leagues were also formed. Marianna had a highly organized league with managers, assistant managers, captains, bat-boys, and water carrier selected for each team. The players had to be residents of the county and approved by the league's board of directors. Regular attendance of Sunday school was expected from each player. Four denominational teams made up the league, each with an unusual nickname: the Baptist Submarines, the Methodist Chicken-eaters, the Christian Bolsheviki, and the Presbyterian Blue Sox. The local newspaper covered the teams as if they were in the big leagues, with box scores and detailed game descriptions each week. (3)
Other town groups formed teams as well. Newport businesses organized teams made up of employees and formed a league in 1925. (4) In Osceola the business men played against the professional men in some very serious baseball games. Friction between the two teams drove Osceola's mayor to promise to have "special policemen on duty to preserve the peace." (5) In Gurdon most businesses closed to watch the town's bachelors take on the local married men. A good crowd saw the single men win in what was the first baseball game after the fencing of the town's field. (6)
Baseball as a community activity in Arkansas extended to women as well. Their participation was often limited to serving refreshments at men's games, but sometimes the women did take the field. In 1925 in Gurdon the mothers and teachers affiliated with the high school Parent Teacher's Association
2 Desha County (AR) News, May 29, 1924.
3 Courier-Index, March 25, 31; June 16, 1922.
4 Newport (AR) Daily Independent, July 24, 31, 1925.
5 Osceola (AR) Times, July 2, 1920; May 13, 1921.
6 Gurdon (AR) Times, April 8, 15, 1926.