BASEBALL TIDBITS FROM THE 1940’S by “Hal” Swartley
Undated Image from the Perkasie Historical Society Collection
We had only one umpire for our games. We couldn’t afford to pay for more than one. He stood behind home plate except when any runner(s) were on base when he would stand behind the pitcher. He would call balls and strikes for the batters from thee until there were no runners on base. Then he would go behind home plate again. The ump wore a large inflated chest protector from under his chin to his waist …. Attached with two large straps. He also wore shin protectors to protect his legs from any foul balls.
There were only 5 or 6 baseballs to use for the entire game. It was the responsibility of the ball boy to retrieve baseballs inside the park & outside. He needed to be fast retrieving any ball that went outside the park because there were always kids in the grandstands who tried to get the balls and run off!!! At the end of the game a baseball used in the game was given to the ball boy as a reward for a job well done.
The water for the players was in a cooler or a large jug. There were only a few cups for all the players to use so there was a lot of sharing …… no coronavirus then !!!!
All baseballs were made and handstitched in South Perkasie by the Hubbert family (David & Ed). There are 108 single stitches in each ball (216 double stitches). They had the contract for making the baseballs. Local people were trained to help stitch balls in their homes.
A fly ball hit way out in left field would often roll into a little brook. Ball was considered playable here. A fly ball hit way into right field was considered a home run if it hit one of several large trees there. It was a double if it rolled in the trees. Center field was all open space in play.
Thanks to Harold “Hal” Swartley for his memories of playing Junior Legion baseball. The games were played at Second Street Playground in Perkasie.
Hal Swartley 2020
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