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grew in popularity throughout North Carolina following the Civil War.  By the late 1800s most towns, colleges and
high schools had teams.  Transylvania
County has been home to town teams, industrial league teams and Major Leaguers
since the early 1900s.

In 1903 the
Brevard Baseball Club played 28 games against other town teams, including
Hendersonville, Tryon and Spartanburg. 
They finished the season with a 17-11 record. 
Newspaper articles boast of defeating their archrivals, Hendersonville,
several times.

Within a few
years other Transylvania communities and the Brevard Institute also had
baseball teams.  Information on these
early teams is limited to scattered reports in local newspapers.

In 1931 the Sylvan Valley League in Transylvania County consisted of teams from Lake Toxaway, Penrose, Pisgah Forest and Rosman.

Can you help identify these 1941 Ecusta ball players?

or textile league baseball was popular from the 1930s through the 1960s.  Local teams began forming in 1934.  The Gloucester CCC Camp, Pisgah Cotton Mills,
Rosman Tannery and Transylvania Tanning all had teams.  Ecusta formed a baseball team in 1940.  Their first game was against Brevard Tannery
on April 27, 1940.  Ecusta won by a score
of 6-4.  The team finished their first
season in 5th place but won the WNC Industrial League pennant in

Gil Coan came to Brevard College to play
baseball in 1941.  Coan worked for Ecusta
in the early 1940s before signing to play professional baseball with the
Washington Senators.  His first major
league game was April 27, 1946.  Over the
course of an 11 year career he also played for the Baltimore Orioles, New York
Giants and Chicago White Sox.  Coan had a
.254 batting average with 39 home runs and 83 stolen bases in 2877 at bats.

This Brevard team made up of mostly African-American players

played teams from Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina.

Back, l to r:  William Mills, Eddie Moss, Jake Smith, Charles Whitmire,

Joe Lewis Norman, Dolphus Robinson, Arthur Robinson, Johnny Whitmire

and Lewis Howell.

Front, l to r:  Willie Bussey, Herbert Avery, Charles Gardin, Charles Whitmire, Jr., 

Hugh Whitmire, Lawrence Mills, Dennis Robinson and Walter Mall Benjamin.

Transylvania County native Art Hefner played baseball in the Negro Leagues for five years.  Hefner played minor league ball for the Nashville Black Vols in 1945 and the Asheville Blues in 1946 and part of 1947.  On the Major League level he played part of 1947 and 1948 with the New York Black yankees and 1949 with the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro National League.  Few Negro League statistices survive but Hefner did hit .273 with the Stars.

Next week Picturing the Past  will feature athletics at Brevard College.  A short series of articles on the history of Brevard College will begin on October 26.

Photographs and information
for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room,
Transylvania County Library.  Visit the
NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history
and see additional photographs.  For more
information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at
[email protected] or 828-884-3151 x242.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712