Exhibit season opening day: April 19, 2024

This year, the Rockingham County Baseball League celebrates 100 years! In the 1920s, baseball wasn’t just a game—it was the center of communities in the Shenandoah Valley. This exhibit honors the competitions, the athletes, and the people who have kept the team spirit alive. Find your ballpark community, heroes, and memories at Rocktown History!

The Rockingham County Baseball League formed in June of 1924 after J. R. “Polly” Lineweaver, sportswriter for the Daily News Record, spearheaded the efforts. Seven communities initially joined the league: Bridgewater, Briery Branch, Broadway, Dayton, Keezletown, Linville-Edom, and Spring Creek. Opening games started on June 28th. Each community fielded teams during the initial week of the league, with Port Republic joining in the third week. A century-long tradition with an ever-changing roster of teams sprang from this modest beginning.

The formation of the RCBL did not mark the beginning of baseball in the region. Following the Civil War, the game caught on nationally, and Harrisonburg and Rockingham County followed the trend. Harrisonburg’s newspaper American Union announced in July of 1866, that The young men of Harrisonburg, determined not to be behind ‘the rest of mankind’ in the manly sports, have formed themselves into a Base Ball Club, dubbing themselves the Lone Star.

Newspaper accounts of baseball games between Rockingham County and other Shenandoah Valley teams indicate that the sport was played by both whites and Blacks throughout the rest of the nineteenth century, leading up to the formation of the RCBL.

Hubert F. Wine (1913-2006), a life-long resident of the Spring Creek in southwestern Rockingham County, captured many images of the community and surrounding region throughout his life. Always on the vanguard, he purchased a 16mm camera in the late 1940s and added motion pictures to his documentation projects. One of Hubert’s passions was baseball, and he recorded Rockingham County Baseball League action from the 1940s through the 1960s. The exhibit features photos and film from Wine’s archive, now part of the Rocktown History Collection.

Spring Creek baseball, Hubert F. Wine Archive
Bridgewater Reds, Hubert F. Wine Archive