Thursday, August 4, 2011

Baltimore Firemen vs U.S. Marines - Baseball

George Washington Wakefield, grand uncle
Baltimore Sun, June 27, 1936

Wakefield, a pitcher, is the only member of the Fire Department squad who has been on all eight teams to face the Marines in their series which will be renewed today.

It is common knowledge in our family that George W. Wakefield was a Baltimore City Firemen. Recently I discovered he was also the "ace" on the department baseball team. Here are several articles detailing George's exploits, as well as sharing a piece of Baltimore history.

Baltimore Sun, May 30, 1930

Firemen's Ace Given Assignment
Against Marines Tomorrow

George Wakefield, ace of the Fire Department baseball team, has been assigned to turn back the Marine invasion in the second annual game at Oriole Park tomorrow afternoon. The Quantico team scored a decisive victory in baseball last year and then followed with an even more decisive triumph on the Stadium gridiron. But it was the Firemen's debut in organized athletics, and the first football team of the department.

Pitched Good Ball

Accepting a relief assignment in last year's game after the Marines had produced what proved to be a safe margin, Wakefield held the invaders scoreless throughout the last six innings, but his mates could not solve the slants of Lefty Smith, Marine ace.

The Firemen star, who also is one of the team's leading hitters, will be well supported both offensively and defensively. Jimmy Ward, Joe Reynolds and Gene Ebatt are all clouting beyond the .350 mark, while Heins, Beverunger, Ellwood, Wakefield and Gately are only a few points behind this mark.

Injuries to two regulars have necessitated changes in the infield and outfield. Beverunger, outfielder, is recovering from a sprained wrist and Bowersox has been kept idle with a torn leg ligament. It is not likely either will be in shape for tomorrow's game, in which case Gately will draw a garden berth and Schmetz, last year regular, will be given the other assignment.

Baltimore Sun, June 25, 1932

Ordered To Present "Snappy
Appearance" In Parade To
Oriole Park Today


750 Smoke Eaters And 1,000 Sea
Soldiers From Quantico To
March From Depot

Firemen on the "off shift" today must wear their caps straight on their heads.

In this and many other respects they must make a military showing that can be compared with the precision of the marines, whom they will battle at baseball this afternoon, and with whom they will parade under departmental orders specifying the manner of wearing caps and other details.

Parade Starts at 2:15

The parade, in which 1,000 marines with their band and 750 firemen and their fife and drum corps will march, is to start from the Mount Royal Stadium at 2:15 o'clock.

The game will be called at Oriole Part at 3:30.

The parade is a matter of as much concern to Fire Department officials as the ball game, and they've issued some very definite instructions.

Snappy Appearance Ordered

"Members are directed to keep in line," reads one order, "and present a snappy appearance; march, not straggle along. No recognition will be made to persons on side lines or otherwise. Smoking in uniform positively prohibited."

There are other instructions, equally terse, indicating that the marines may have something to see in the way of a parade.

For three years the Quantico Marines and Baltimore Firemen have been battling on the baseball diamond and football field. The Marines have outclassed the fire laddies in the gridiron game, but Chief Emrich's lads edged in on the honors of the Leathernecks in baseball last year and defeated the boys from Quantico in their third clash.

All three baseball games have been

hotly contested, but the same cannot be said of football. But Director Thompson feels that the time will come when his football squad will measure up to the ability of his baseball team.

The success of the baseball team in this afternoon's game will have great bearing in the coming football season. A win for the Smoke Eaters is figured to place a great deal of confidence in the gridders whey they report in September.

The Fire Boys are in top shape for this afternoon's game, a short practice being indulged in yesterday afternoon at Oriole Park, where the boys showed plenty of spirit.

Director Thompson and Coach Eddie Hooper decided on the following lineup last night, and named George Wakefield, who has been so successful in past years against the Marines, as the starting moundsman.

Play ball!


  1. Absolute wonderful piece. Tells so much of the social history!

  2. I love stories like this - discovering new things about our ancesotrs. Sounds like there was quite a rivalry going! Thanks for sharing this peek into the past.

  3. Thanks so for the kind words. It is indeed a wonderful day when you discover something interesting and about your ancestor. Even better when a bit of history is involved!

  4. How cool, I never knew this about the family. How fun to find things out like this. : )

  5. It is great Faith! Someday I will be putting all these stories together for the children in our family. Hopefully they will appreciated the history. I know your two will!