Caroline County, Virginia: Lew & Tony Beasley

Caroline County — A Baseball Story In 3 Acts

Act 3: The Beasleys

Just like Clarence “Soup” Campbell (from Act 2, remember?), Lewis “Lew” Beasley was born in tiny Sparta, Virginia – 33 years later, in 1948.

He attended Bowling Green’s Union High School in the 1960s – the county’s “colored” school. I couldn’t find him in any of their mid-1960s yearbooks so I can’t tell you when – or if – he graduated, but reports say he played on the school’s powerhouse baseball team.

Beasley, an outfielder, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the January 1967 draft.

With the minor league Miami Marlins in 1969

Though short and stocky, he was known for his speed. They called him “Quick Lew” and his 41 stolen bases in 1969 was a then-team record for the minor league Miami Marlins.

Continue reading

Caroline County, Virginia: Clarence “Soup” Campbell

Caroline County, Virginia — A Baseball Story In 3 Acts

Act 2: “Soup”

Three ballplayers of note have called Caroline County, Virginia home. And, our story starts in Sparta.

Caroline County fills an area of 537 miles and there are only two towns of any size within those confines – Bowling Green, the county seat, population 1,111, and Port Royal, population 197.

About all there is to Sparta, Virginia today is a post office, a couple churches, and a volunteer fire department. It was once a little more than that, but really not so much.

Clarence “Soup” Campbell was born in Sparta in March 1915.

Does everyone with the last name Campbell end up with the nickname “Soup”?  (Yes.)

Continue reading

Caroline County, Virginia — A Baseball Story In 3 Acts

Act 1 — The County

If you ever need to get from the bottom of the East Coast to the top – or top to bottom – you’ll probably end up on Interstate 95.

That 1,900-mile road – the most traveled in America (which surprises no one who has ever been on it) – can take you from Houlton, Maine to Miami, Florida and back again.

You’ve probably been on it. And, you’ve probably cursed at it, muttered at it, and yelled at its gridlock that stretched out in front of you. Everybody does that. That’s proper I-95 etiquette.

(Because The Baseball Bloggess does not wish to mislead you: A 12-mile gap around Trenton, New Jersey prevents I-95 from being a complete North-South highway. That gap should be fixed in 2018.)

In the middle-ish of I-95, you’ll pass through Caroline County, Virginia

If you need to stop, exits 104 at Bowling Green and 110 at Ladysmith will pop you out into the county.

(It’s pronounced Care-oh-Line and was named in 1728 in honor of Queen Caroline, wife of England’s King George II.)

I-95’s proximity is not the most interesting thing about Caroline County.

And, baseball is not the most interesting thing about it, either.

Continue reading