Culpeper’s Hall of Famers – Talking Baseball at the Culpeper Museum, March 19

pete-hill-eppa-rixey-culpeper-virginia

Pete Hill, outfielder, Negro League & pre-Negro League (left). Eppa Rixey, pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies & Cincinnati Reds (right)

I’m delighted to announce that I have been invited to speak about the lives and careers of Culpeper Virginia’s two National Baseball Hall of Fame members, Pete Hill and Eppa Rixey. The talk will be at the Museum of Culpeper History in downtown Culpeper on Sunday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m.

museum-of-culpeper-history

Just five ballplayers in the National Baseball Hall of Fame were born in Virginia.  If this seems a little light to you – it did to me, too.  Still, that’s five more than North Dakota, Arizona, Hawaii, and Alaska – combined – so  there is that.

California has 24 members, Alabama has 12, New York 31. Maryland, Virginia’s neighbor to the north, has 12. Not that this Hall of Fame thing is a competition. (Except that it is.)

But, back to the five from Virginia.

Two of the five are from Culpeper County.

Virginia’s a big state. Of its 95 counties, Culpeper ranks 25th by population. Not a lot of big leaguers – major league players and well-known Negro League-era players — come from this part the state.

But, 40 percent of Virginia’s greatest baseball players – enshrined members in the National Baseball Hall of Fame – were born in Culpeper County. That’s something.

Plus, these two players – who, best I can tell, never crossed paths in life – tell an important story that goes well beyond the baseball diamond.

One was black, the son of slaves who played before the major leagues were integrated, but was considered by many to be a better player than most of the white big leaguers of his day. The other was white, a banker’s son with a college degree whose major league career spanned decades.

Culpeper and baseball tie these two together.

Culpeper, Virginia has a rich history as you can see here …

 

And, baseball can often can tell us a larger story of who we are as a country – and how we got here.

I hope you’ll join me. The talk, part of the museum’s monthly “GalleryTalk” lecture series, is free and, yes, there will be snacks.

Seating is limited, so the museum would like an RSVP if you’re planning to attend. Call them at 540-829-1749 or email me at jackie@thebaseballbloggess.com and I’ll pass your RSVP along.

Here’s the press release from the Museum of Culpeper History:

FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, February 1, 2017  |  Contact: Gloria Cooper, Interim Director (540-829-1749)

The Culpeper Boys of Summer: Our Baseball Hall of Famers

Museum’s Second GalleryTalk of 2017 Season Slated for March 19

The Museum hosts its second GalleryTalk for 2017 on Sunday, March 19th from 2-4pm in the Civil War Gallery of the Museum in the historic train depot in downtown Culpeper.  Jackie Howell, “The Baseball Bloggess” from Madison, Virginia, will discuss the lives and careers of Culpeper’s two National Baseball Hall of Fame members, Pete Hill and Eppa Rixey.

Just five Virginia-born ballplayers are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame; two were born in Culpeper County.

Pete Hill, born in Culpeper County in 1882, is considered one of the greatest outfielders to play in the Negro Leagues, including the earliest pre-Negro League years. His career spanned the 1890s to the mid-1920s. Considered one of the first superstars of the Negro Leagues he was known for his bat, his strong arm, and his fielding. As one baseball historian noted, Hill “pounded baseballs with a consistency that literally made pitchers scratch their heads in amazement. He was nearly impossible to keep off base.” Hill later became a well-regarded Negro League manager.

Eppa Rixey, born in Culpeper in 1891, was a star left-handed pitcher for the University of Virginia, before going on to a long career with the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. He played in the majors from 1912 through 1933 and is one of the few big leaguers to never play a single game in the minors. His 266 career wins was a major league record for lefthanders until Warren Spahn broke the record in 1959. Those 266 wins still puts Rixey at #10 among all lefthanders.

Jackie Howell is a baseball writer and historian who writes The Baseball Bloggess, an award-winning blog on both the history of baseball and the modern-day game.

The Baseball Bloggesswww.thebaseballbloggess.com – has more than 3,600 subscribers world-wide and has been recognized by Freshly Pressed for commentary on the history of vote manipulation in the All-Star Game (which is funnier than it sounds) and on the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball (which isn’t funny at all).  Her blog has been called “Fun” by Forbes magazine and in October 2016, The Baseball Bloggess was named a prestigious Discover Blog for writing about “the game and its rich history with a mixture of deep knowledge and humor.”

Her current project as The Baseball Bloggess is to visit the birthplaces of the nearly 200 Virginia-born major league ballplayers and significant Negro League players.

Jackie is a member of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  During baseball season she can be found at pretty much every University of Virginia home game and patiently waiting for the Baltimore Orioles to win the World Series.

The public is invited to attend this talk; refreshments will be served.  The event is free; seating is limited so RSVPs are appreciated – please call 540-829-1749 for reservations and information.

 

13 thoughts on “Culpeper’s Hall of Famers – Talking Baseball at the Culpeper Museum, March 19

  1. Congratulations and enjoy the moment. Make sure you get a DVD (or something) so you can put it here and those of us in the middle of the country can hear it too.
    And, geez, I didn’t know you wuz so famous. :-)
    v

    • Thanks, v. Yes, I’m so famous that my biggest draw for this is “come to my talk … there will be FREE SNACKS!”

      I’ve been saving Pete Hill & Eppa Rixey for my blog … they will definitely have posts as part of the Virginia-Born Project. I love their stories, the Hall of Fame connection, and how they each represent some of the best baseball to ever come out of Virginia … and they were each born just 20-minutes or so from my house!

    • Thanks, Tracy … Culpeper has such a rich, wide-ranging history that it’s hard to cover it all. So, I’m glad they’re dedicating an afternoon to baseball, and I’m happy to do my part to tell the stories. The two players are interesting and definitely a special part of Culpeper’s history.

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  3. Jackie,

    Our family thoroughly enjoyed your presentation yesterday in Culpeper. While we knew of Eppa Rixey and his accomplishments, we knew nothing of Pete Hill. My wife is a descendant of Eppa, so it was great to fill in some blanks on his life. We never knew that he taught at Woodberry Forest or at Episcopal. Those two schools form the longest continuing High School football rivalry in the South. While I do not know about the baseball rivalry, I have to think it is intense as well.

    Thanks again. It was very clear that you have done an incredible amount of research. Know that I even forgot about snacks at the end…

    • Mark, I’m so glad you and your wife were able to come … thank you so much! I was so pleased to have the chance to share a little of what I learned about Eppa Rixey with you. I continue to research and study the lives of both Pete Hill and Eppa Rixey, so I will definitely pass on any bits that might be of particular interest to you and your family.

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