Historic Hot Sox Field Reopens

By Kathy Knotts 

This weekend marks the grand reopening of an historic baseball field in Galesville in southern Anne Arundel County. Hot Sox Field at Wilson Park will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony plus a reception and exhibition games Saturday, Sept. 10 at 11am. 

Over the last year, the historic field and park has received several updates and amenities including a new playing field with irrigation, a new grandstand for audience seating, new dugouts for teams, improvements to the entrance and parking, and a custom timber pavilion named in honor of former Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch who supported this and other projects in Galesville.  

This one-of-a-kind site highlights the significant contribution of Henry Wilson, a formerly enslaved person, and his family and heirs, who helped establish an African American community in Galesville that still thrives today. In 1928, Wilson’s son Richard transformed their farm into a baseball field for the Galesville Hot Sox, a local semi-professional Negro league team formed in 1915. They competed against other sandlot teams throughout Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties and the Eastern Shore, and even played against teams from the Negro Professional League.  

While a place for sport, the ballfield was also an important community gathering place during segregation. Locals would come to not only watch the action on the diamond, but also to eat and mingle. At times there were hundreds of spectators turning out for a game, paying just 50 cents for admission. 

Anne Arundel County purchased the 28-acre site in 2012 to rehabilitate and reopened it to the community in 2013. Busch threw out the first pitch in a ceremony attended by Galesville residents and many former Hot Sox players. Since then, the county, the Galesville Community Center, and the community have worked together to make renovations to the field, including this $2.5 million renovation, and make it more accessible for the public and youth teams. 

Saturday’s exhibition games will include youth baseball teams from Anne Arundel County, women’s softball, and players from the Chesapeake Independent Baseball League. Parking is limited in the Galesville community, so visitors are encouraged to carpool, walk or bike from the community. Some satellite parking will be available at nearby locations. 

An artist’s rendering of the new grandstand.