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The Only Game in Town recalls a time when life in the North Country was much simpler. Communities interacted with one another, sometimes out of need, and sometimes for friendship and socialization. In time, they became linked by close bonds and friendly rivalries. Baseball played a clearly defined role in that equation. Its status changed over the years, reaching the height of importance from the 1920s through the 1950s.
In the post-Civil War decades, social gatherings between villages included parades, dancing, singing, and large picnics, plus a variety of games and sporting competitions. Baseball was a regular feature of such communal affairs.
By the late 1800s, the game had assumed a leading role at civic assemblies, gaining prominence locally, and mirroring baseball’s popularity nationwide.
With the advent of the automobile, travel rapidly simplified, changing the nature of those once grandiose social events. Baseball became the main attraction. Games were played much more frequently, with hundreds in attendance, and sometimes thousands.
Just as the sport attained great status nationally, led by the exploits of Babe Ruth, baseball entered its Golden Age locally in the twentieth century. From 1920 Champlain (1911) through 1960, it became part of the fabric of American life. Youngsters admired national and hometown stars alike, aspiring to reach greatness themselves. As revealed within these pages, many went on to represent the North Country admirably.
Events naturally focused on the tri-county area’s largest population center, Plattsburgh, in Clinton County. But included here is much information on the great teams and players from both Essex and Franklin counties. The three are forever united in having produced and hosted some of New York’s finest ballplayers.