By Steve Adams
The Galesville Community Center Organization (GCCO) is currently raising funds to install a pavilion at one of the most historic fields in not only Anne Arundel County but all of Maryland. Organizers hope the Michael E. Busch Pavilion will be erected at Hot Sox Field at Wilson Park in Galesville this summer.
Once home to the Galesville Hot Sox, a semi-professional “sandlot” baseball team founded in 1915, the field hosted visiting Negro League baseball teams such as the Baltimore Black Sox and Newark Eagles and brought the community together to watch games for decades.
As Lyndra Marshall, who serves as the GCCO historian and researched the team in preparation for a 2015 Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shaped America,” explains, “Just like the players, many residents of Galesville worked all week at Woodfield Fish & Oyster Company, where they shucked oysters and cut and cleaned fish, crabs, and shrimp. It was labor-intensive work, so weekend baseball games were a big celebration with fellowship, food, and fun. Hundreds and as many as 1,200 spectators paid 50 cents at the gate to watch and cheer the team on at any given game. Games were a time to mingle and enjoy lots of great food for as little as 10 cents. There was always fried fish and fried chicken, crab cakes, hot dogs, green beans cooked with ham bone and a little bit of bacon fat, potato salad, slices tomatoes, rolls, and pies. The menu never changed, and it always sold out. The team, and cheering it on, really became the foundation of a proud community.”
While GCCO and the county have made a number of improvements to the field since the county acquired it in 2013, Marshall reports that renovations will begin on what will become a $2.5 million state-of-the-art ballpark this summer, hopefully to be completed by the end of 2021 or in early 2022.
This will include constructing the Busch Pavilion, named after the man who was instrumental in securing state funding to support recreational facilities in the county, including those for the renovation. Organizers hope it will be a place where the community will come together for recreation and fun, just as it did when watching the Hot Sox. Supporters can purchase a $100 paver that will be laser-engraved with whatever inscription they wish and installed in the patio area.
Email GCCO at [email protected] or call Gertrude Makell at 410-703-0610 for more information.