The Nitty Gritty
The year was 1905. My granddaddy, who was an avid baseball player, was employed to teach a term of school at Cedar Crossing. In a column he wrote, which was published on May 10, 1945, he noted that “the main sport in that section was frolicking, fist fighting, etc. and that playing baseball had been sadly neglected.”
Having played baseball for several years, he was interested in promoting the game at Cedar Crossing. With that goal in mind, he set a time for anyone interested in the game to meet at the school. Some of the boys who responded had never seen a baseball game, or even held a baseball in their hands.
However, my granddaddy said, “The boys were eager to make the team and were ready for some competition.” A couple of teams were near enough to travel by horse-drawn vehicles to play competition ball with Cedar Crossing. Fairview had promised to join Cedar Crossing in playing any teams that they could not handle by themselves.
At that time, Mt. Moriah, in Toombs County, had a team that had beaten about everybody in the country, and the Cedar Crossing team got ambitious enough to want to give them a licking — with the help of Fairview. The people in Cedar Crossing did their celebrating in a big way in those days, so they decided to play the game on the Fourth of July.
A pitcher was their weakness, but through their Fairview friends, they were fortunate to secure Dr. Harry Moses, who had pitched in the Virginia league and had quite a reputation at the time. continued from page
They advertised the game in all the surrounding communities. Early that morning, the people began driving into Cedar Crossing in every kind of vehicle available during those days. One of the earliest arrivals brought eight quarts of whiskey and asked my granddaddy to lock it up in the safe until after the game was over. My granddaddy told the fellow that he “would keep his whiskey, with the distinct understanding that he, nor anyone else, would get at it until after the game had been played.” However, the fellow kept out one quart for his own use, which he shared with some of the players. They got drunk and demanded that my granddaddy give them the rest of the whiskey. He refused, but they raised such a row that he took it all out and told them to “take it elsewhere and do what they pleased with it.”
By game time, all the Cedar Crossing players — except two — were drunk and convinced that they could beat any team on earth. On his way to the field, my granddaddy was accompanied by an old friend who convinced him to try some wine before the game started, and he drank a little too much.
My granddaddy learned quickly that running, after drinking that wine, had also made him a little drunk. Their first baseman was too drunk to play and the team insisted that my granddaddy, who usually pitched, play first base.
Mt. Moriah’s first batter rolled the ball to the pitcher and, when he threw it to first, my granddaddy said he “saw two balls and tried to catch the wrong one.” The batter was safe. Somehow they managed to last through five innings and were beaten 4 to 0. Harry Moses crippled two of their catchers and had to turn the pitching over to Wallace Moses, because nobody could catch him.
My granddaddy said, “There was no victory to celebrate, no whiskey left to celebrate with, and most people just called it another big day at Cedar Crossing — and went home.”
E-mail Bennie Harbin at: email@example.com.