NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A throwback softball game brought to life at its original home, McClure Field.
McClure Field is the second oldest brick baseball stadium, only bested by Wrigley Field. The original purpose was to be an “athletic field,” but it soon became a ball diamond filled with baseball legends.
“All walks of life were playing on this diamond before,” Captain David Dees, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Norfolk, said.
That’s because in 1943 the United States was in World War II. Sailors poured into Naval Station Norfolk to help fight in Europe. A number of those were Major League baseball players.
“They had enough Major League ballplayers to basically form two teams,” Captain Dees said.
The line in the sand was drawn.
“An imaginary line down the middle that divided the Naval Air Station and the Naval Training Station,” he said.
The Naval Training Station side was where sailors were on a surface vessel. The Naval Air Station side was where players were assigned to a squadron or an aircraft carrier.
It didn’t take long before the rivalry formed.
“It’s always good to step away from the serious mission and have a little friendly rivalry, Captain Dees said.
That rivalry still runs strong 80 years later.
“Definitely some talk going down,” Scott Barber, a Naval Air Station player, said.
He said the trash talking didn’t phase him. He was focused on one thing: winning.