Thanks from the Friends of Warren Ballpark

The Friends of Warren Ballpark’s 4th Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament was a success, thanks to our volunteers, teams, vendors and cranks (fans). We had our most successful year yet, increasing both attendance and receipts. 

We thank the teams of the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League and the Colorado All-Stars who enlivened the tournament with their colorful uniforms. Arbitrator, Pat Kelly of the Tombstone Vigilantes kept the players and cranks in line. Tom Halleran of the Society of American Baseball Researchers announced the morning games. Matt Raisman from Cherry Creek Radio kept up a lively patter with the teams during the afternoon games. Give Cherry Creek a listen: K101, all hits, all the time; KWCD, Pure Country; and KTAN, news & talk radio. 

Thanks to the 555 Grill, in Old Bisbee, for serving a large crowd at the Saturday night post-game show. The post-show was well attended. Jim Elfers, author of The Tour to End All Tours, shared many photos about the New York Giants-Chicago White Sox 1913-1914 world tour team that played a game at Warren Ballpark. Mike Anderson, author of Warren Ballpark, discussed Tony Antista, a shining star for Bisbee, hitting a scorching, league-leading 430 in 1930. The Antista family was well-represented to honor their beloved Tony. “Mudcat” Grant, 21-game winner and author of The Black Aces, spoke movingly about his friend Earl Wilson, 22-game pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and about the experience of early African-American major league baseball players. 

Special thanks go to the Copper Queen Hotel for taking such good care of our new friend “Mudcat” Grant. He even got to sing the blues with Cat Daddy’s band. Mr. Grant has become an honorary member the Friends of Warren Ballpark and was taken to heart by Bisbee at large for his gracious sharing of stories and his kind generosity. . 

Moose’s Hotdogs, a vendor since the inaugural tournament in 2010, served their premier sausages and hotdogs. When in Sierra Vista, look for the bright yellow and blue umbrella outside of Lowes for a tasty, inexpensive lunch. Jimmy’s Hotdogs, a local favorite, sold delicious burgers. Stop by the bright yellow building with the hotdog on the roof across from Safeway for a savory lunch (their spaghetti is the best).

Bisbee Unified School District was great to work with. Roy Lopez always a pleasure to work with opened and closed the field and kept the restrooms clean and supplied. 

A tip of our baseball caps goes to our volunteers who provided security, sold tickets, beer and raffle tickets. Thanks to our generous sponsors: Bisbee Royale, Freeport McMoran, the Copper Queen Hospital, Highway 92 Auto Services, Wick Communications, Bisbee Realty, Acacia Arts and Antiques, the Community Montessori School, High Desert Market, the Bob Butler Family, Plaza Liquor and Sierra Vista Rotary. As always, we thank our sponsoring organization, the Bisbee Council on the Arts and Humanities. 

This column of appreciation would be much longer if all were named but thank you so much. The funds raised will fund our next project, construction of accessible public restrooms. 

4th Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament

The Friends of the Warren Ballpark is hosting the 4th Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Baseball Tournament, Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, Sunday April 7th, 2013 at Bisbee’s 104 year-old Historic Warren Ballpark, the REAL Field of Dreams in Bisbee, Arizona. Gates open at 10:00 A.M. on both Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy old style base ball played by 1860 rules. Click here to buy tickets on line.

Join fellow cranks–the 1800’s term for fans–as the teams take the field wearing old-style uniforms to play the game as it was played 140 years ago! At least six teams will be playing in this year’s tournament. Five Arizona Territory Vintage Base Ball League teams including our local team, the Bisbee Black Sox are featured. Also, last year’s fan’s favorite, the Colorado All-Stars team, is returning.

The two-day event is dedicated to Earl Wilson, John McGraw, and Tony Antista. Earl Wilson started his professional career as a catcher in 1953 with the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings. He went on to pitch a no-hitter for the Red Sox in 1962. After being traded to Detroit, Earl Wilson won 22 games for the Tigers in 1967. Jim “Mudcat” Grant, the first African-American 20 game pitcher and author of The Black Aces will be present to talk about Earl Wilson’s career.

Warren Ballpark is the ballpark in Bisbee, AZ where John McGraw, the manager of the New York Giants, and company stopped to play an exhibition game on their way around the world in 1913. A ferocious player and equally ferocious manager, McGraw won ten National League pennants in thirty seasons with the Giants. A record surpassed only by Casey Stengel.

The hottest hitter in the southwest in 1930, Tony Antista, the “Walloping Wop” was also one of the smallest men on the diamond, the game’s finest musician and the friend of a future president. The Friends will honor Antista, one of the best ballplayers to step up to the plate in a Bisbee uniform, at this year’s Copper City Classic Vintage base Ball Tournament.

This year the tournament will also commemorate the New York Giants-Chicago White Sox 1913-1914 world tour that stopped to play a game at Warren Ballpark. Jim Elfers, author of The Tour to End All Tours will be present to talk about his book on the world tour.

“Mudcat” Grant and Jim Elfers along with ballpark historian Mike Anderson will be speaking on Saturday night, April 6th at 7:00 p.m. The presentation is free at 555 Restaurant, 202 Tombstone Canyon in Old Bisbee. Reservations are suggested; call 520.432.3813.

Ticket prices are $10 for a single day and $15 for both days; children age 12 and under are free with an adult ticket. Active military free on Sunday, April 7th. Along with plenty of baseball, you will find family fun, favorite baseball food, hot dogs, sodas, cold beer and souvenirs. This year, the Old Bisbee Brewing Company will be serving-up their special brand of beer. Local vendors will be providing scrumptious “park” food.

Proceeds benefit Warren Ballpark Restoration.