April 8 and 9, during the Eighth Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament at historic Warren Ballpark in Bisbee. Gates open 9:00 a.m.

Bisbee was in the same league as Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso and Albuquerque?

Yes indeed, it’s hard to imagine that the old copper mining town of Bisbee, AZ had a professional baseball team in the same league as the biggest cities in the southwest, but it’s true! Not only did the Bisbee Bees minor league team of the old Arizona-Texas League successfully compete with teams from cities much larger, it also sent a steady stream of players to the big leagues!

Join the Friends of Warren Ballpark as they honor a trio of stinging Bees – Dwight “Red” Adams, Bert Shepard and Clarence Maddern – who each made their way up the professional baseball ladder to play in the Big Show.

Red Adams began his exemplary baseball career in 1939 as a 17-year-old pitcher for Bisbee and remained in the game for 41 years, finishing as the beloved and well-respected pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Red also holds a place in the record books as the oldest living member of a Chicago Cubs baseball team (1946).

Bert Shepard pitched for the Bees in 1941 and returned home in 1945 from wartime service as an Army Air Forces fighter pilot and captivity in a German POW camp to earn a place in baseball history as the only man to pitch in a major league baseball game on an artificial leg. More importantly, “Shep” served as the inspiration for the many thousands of badly-wounded American World War II veterans who faced an uncertain postwar future.

Clarence Maddern, Bisbee’s hometown hero, starred for the Bees as an outfielder in 1940 and 1941. After service in World War II he resumed his career in baseball, playing for the Chicago Cubs, the Cleveland Indians and several teams in the old Pacific Coast League. Clarence remains the only native-born Bisbee man to make his way up to The Big Show!

This year’s fundraising invitational vintage base ball tournament will feature teams from the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League, wearing period uniforms and playing bare-handed base ball according to the rules of the game in use back in 1860!

Two former big league pitchers – James “Mudcat” Grant and Pat Darcy – will also be attending the event at Warren Ballpark to sign autographs and chat with the fans.

Tickets for the fundraising event may be purchased at the gate or online. ($15 for both days, $10 for one day, ages 12 and under free with adult ticket) Proceeds of the tournament will be used to pay for future renovations and improvements at the Bisbee Unified School District’s 108-year-old multi-sports facility in the Warren Neighborhood. For more information, contact Judy Anderson at 520-366-1455 or check out our Facebook page.