Byrne Field hosted Sunday baseball

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do you remember when Byrne Field with its Sunday afternoon baseball games was the center of attraction here back in the 1940s and early 1950s?

We had so many good ballplayers that I won’t even try to name them. Actually, I wrote a column about those ballplayers a couple of years ago. But, I failed to mention the large crowds that were always in attendance. Teams came in from Mobile, Bay Minette, Brewton, Uriah, Monroeville and several other communities.

One of the interesting features was Bill Robinson and his unique concession stand in one corner of the ball field. Fans could buy cold drinks for five cents and hot dogs for a dime. Young boys went scurrying for foul balls, which sailed out of the park. The going price for returning those balls was a dime. Doug Vickery, a youngster back then, had the record of most returned balls one year. Doug says, “It was not uncommon to earn 40 or 50 cents a game, which was real good money in those days.”

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People enjoyed those Sunday afternoons at the ball park. But, that era came to a close with the advent of T.V. For those of us who were there we always remember it.

On another subject back in those days, can you remember your mom, grandmother or sister telling you don’t forget that handkerchief as you prepared for school? There were handkerchiefs of all colors and sizes. I remember some girls had hankies with lace trim. But I remember one boy who carried a large red “bandanna” handkerchief. It was so large you could use it as a tablecloth.

Today, however, I see youngsters and even adults in church or restaurants without handkerchiefs. How do I know? Well, you can tell when people need to blow their nose (or is it noses?) and simply cannot because they were, apparently, never taught to carry a hankie. I suppose in today’s world this would be considered minor because of the many other things evident in society. Things like mode of dress and wearing caps and hats indoors. It’s not like it used to be is it? Now, I really should not criticize the wearing of caps and hats indoors because I have too many kin who do this.

Now let’s take a look at some news from the year 1973.

The Miss Little Queen that year was Cathy Smith, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Smith.

Sherry Robinson, former ECHS and Auburn University grad, was selected Miss Lee County in the Miss Alabama Contest in Birmingham. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Robinson, she took top honors in the talent contest.

A gala Grand Opening was held at The Adams Plaza Shopping Center in the fall of 1973. Piggly Wiggly, Revco Drug Store and TG&Y Family Center were the main anchors in the Center. Jack Lovely moved here from Oklahoma to manage TG&Y. He remained with that company for a number of years until his retirement. He spent those retirement years at his cottage at Bryant’s Landing until he returned to his native Oklahoma two years ago.

Computer training and the Internet were not available when I was in high school or college. In fact it was “light years” away. Fifteen years ago, I was required to use a computer in my work. This created great concern for me as I simply did not know how to use the computer. With the helpful training of a 16-year-old young man at $25 an hour for a few sessions, I soon felt the positive results of his “crash course” efforts. I found myself becoming more comfortable in this new endeavor each time I turned the computer on.

In high school I learned to type on the old Royal manual typewriter. In fact, prior to the introduction of the computer, news reporters and editors used these old typewriters to type up their news stories. The “type setter” would then take the reporter’s typed copy and set it up for print. It really wasn’t until the 80s that the new computer method was put into operation.

But getting back to the Internet, I am now convinced it is one of the most important inventions of our time. There are countless things it offers.

For instance, I can print my own stamps without having to go to the post office to buy them. I wonder what “C” Williams, our postmaster here for many years, would think of this if he were living now. He never hesitated to talk to me about sports or his golf game when I went into the post office to get stamps. Some say he could hit a golf ball swinging from the left side as well as the right side.

I can even print out coupons for my wife to use on her shopping sprees. I can receive and e-mail photos. You may ask what is e-mail?

It is electronic mail that can be sent and received in only a few seconds. I can do research without having to use an encyclopedia. I believe e-mail will be as common as the telephone in the not too distance future.

Online college courses are one of the newest features of the Internet.

Some colleges have make available all the necessary courses needed for a full BS degree. Can you imagine the money saved by staying at home and attending college on the Internet? This feature has blossomed probably more than any Internet program. Major companies today are paying the fees for employees to take online courses. Only a few weeks ago I read where online high school courses are becoming available. The Internet also offers web sites that provide medical information. You’ll find answers to many health problems. WebMD is a good site for this, but be sure your doctor is your first option before considering solving medical problems from this site.

Next week we will have more from days gone by.

yes……it always whispers to me……..those days of long ago…….”

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at