While it took to tennis and golf in warm weather recreation, Concord, not unlike the rest of the country, loved its baseball too; for watching as well as participating.
The Sunset League got going in 1909 with four teams – the Haymakers, Old Timers, Sluggers and the White Parks – playing at White Park.
Crowds picked up as the inaugural season progressed, according to reports in the Monitor. Early on, one sentence write-ups were all that appeared.
By the end of the month, game reports covered several paragraphs. “These contests are gaining in popularity and it is estimated that there were over 500 in attendance last night,” said the final line in one such report. By the end of the season, the Sunset League was hopping.
“Tonight’s contest will bring the largest crowd ever to White Park, for about every man, woman and child in Concord, unless physically incapacitated, has made arrangements to attend,” the Monitor wrote, building up the final game.
The night delivered. “ALL OVER NOW” yelled a banner headline about the Haymakers’ victory. “Sunset Season Ends in Blaze of Glory,” was the line under that.
“At the close of the contest, the fans, cheering lustily, joined the players in a triumphant march around the diamond, a color bearer with the pennant at the head, and after every Haymaker had been hoisted on the shoulders of the enthusiasts, that all might see and remember the men that had made the night memorable, Mr. Ahern with well chosen words … presented the handsome banner.”
This excerpt written by Allen Lessels is part of Chapter Seven: On the Ball in Crosscurrents of Change.