Cradle of the Game: North Carolina Baseball Past and Present
The glory of North Carolina baseball past and present is richly detailed in the Second Edition of Cradle of the Game: Baseball and Ballparks in North Carolina. The comprehensive volume explores minor-league and leading college ballparks large and small. It will entertain readers interested in Tar Heel state baseball history, and serve as a guide to visitors of today’s ballparks.
The Tar Heel State has a special place in the baseball world; it’s a place where affiliated teams play at almost every level — from rookie ball to Triple-A — and college players complete in the NCAA and the Coastal Plain League. In Cradle of the Game, their stories are richly told, with a chapter devoted to each of the teams competing the state.
Author Mark Cryan has many years of North Carolina baseball experience, starting out in the business by working for legendary minor league executive Miles Wolff. Highlights of the book include interviews with Wolff, who talks about his involvement in making Bull Durham, as well as with legendary manager Jack McKeon, who reflects on life in the game.
From Mark Cryan’s introduction:
Today, crowds continue to gather to see history-rich teams like the Asheville Tourists and the Durham Bulls play in beautiful, modern facilities, teams like the Charlotte Knights and the Greensboro Grasshoppers bring baseball into revitalized urban centers, and cheer on amateur teams like the Edenton Steamers and Wilson Tobs in ballparks built before many of their fans were born.
From the beautiful beaches of the Atlantic Coast to the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina prides itself on “having it all,” and surely the baseball fans of the region are blessed as well. With affiliated minor-league teams ranging from Rookie classification to Triple A and with four different minor leagues overlapping, North Carolina has a total of 9 professional teams, eight collegiate-level Coastal Plain League teams, and over a dozen Division I college programs. The national governing body also calls North Carolina home, with Cary hosting USA Baseball in a beautiful multi-field complex. That’s more baseball per capita than just about any state in the nation, and maybe the most baseball crazy place in the world outside of Latin America. A traveling fan in North Carolina need never go a night without a cold drink and a scorecard in his hands between March and September.
This is the second edition of Cradle of the Game.
From Miles Wolff, who wrote the Foreward to Cradle of the Game:
Baseball—it’s been woven into the fabric of North Carolina for well over a century. In that time the state has undergone a remarkable transition from a poor rural state with textile mills and tobacco farms to a modern economy of high tech industry and growing cities. And yet, during this transformation, baseball has been a constant—part of the tapestry that makes this state unique.
Mark Cryan’s book will give the reader a great picture of baseball in the Tar Heel state. He is well equipped to paint this picture, having been part of the baseball scene as an operator of several minor-league and summer-college teams over many years. Other states in the U.S. have strong baseball traditions, but North Carolina’s ties are unique, and Mark’s volume points out North Carolina’s special place in the baseball universe.
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