Negro Baseball League talk to feature Ralph Deaton

The Church Hill Hawks’ Ralph Deaton, left, played for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks. Deaton is shown here sliding into home during one of his college games. He was part of several Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship teams in the 1950s, and he was inducted into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

CAMBRIDGE — Before smart phones and shopping malls, fans flocked to baseball fields on the Eastern Shore whenever a game was being played. By the time the Eastern Shore Negro League was established in 1932, people of color had been playing for decades anywhere they could.

Ralph Deaton will be speaking about his experience in this league at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester. This offering is free and open to the public, although donations are appreciated.

Deaton played baseball on the weekends in the 1950s and 1960s. He played for a team that was often supplied with baseball equipment by his father who was a business owner in Church Hill.

It’s safe to say that players in the Negro League experienced some things about the sport in a different way than their white counterparts. Playing for the town team, the Church Hill Hawks, Deaton and others were self-taught and made very little money providing this community wide entertainment.

The Heritage Museums is the home of the Dorchester County Historical Society and this organization is actively trying to acquire images and other memorabilia about the Negro League in the County.

The Heritage Museums are located at 1003 Greenway Drive in East Cambridge. For information call 410-228-7953.

Follow me on Twitter @connie_stardem.

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