Parks # 90
What I Remember
St. Cloud Commons in Huntington, WV was the last of our stops in the Appalachian League and I remember it being different in many ways from its brethren. The name of the ballpark was unusual…Commons sounds like a park with gardens and trees, not one with a scoreboard and baseball diamond.
Huntington was also quite a distance from all the other teams in the league. Most of the other nine clubs were located around the Virginia/Tennessee/North Carolina border area and most were no more than an hour or two from the other teams, but we drove more than 200 miles to get to Huntington and that was among the shorter trips teams had to take to get there.
Most Appy League teams didn’t have the things that other minor league clubs have become known for: mascots, promotions, unusual concessions – Huntington had all that. But the strangest part about Huntington is that it was a franchise in a city that seemed like a sure winner when we saw it play in its second season. Yet three years later, after the 1994 season, the Chicago Cubs pulled out of Huntington and minor league baseball has never returned.
Pulaski Braves 3 Huntington Cubs 1
The Box: (Click on the arrows to see more images)
There are of variety of things that probably contributed to the fame and notoriety that Sue Easler and I experienced in the summer of 1991 – the regular segment on ESPN being at the top of the list. But near the top too was a story that ran after our stop in Huntington. It went out on the Associated Press wire, I don’t think the reporter who interviewed us was even in Huntington, but it showed up later that week in newspapers across the country, many of them, like Anchorage, Alaska, far from places we would ever visit. The story is in the gallery below – it was certainly a catalyst for what was to come.