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Baseball, Ohio (Part 3)

Writer's note: In the last installment of the "Baseball, Ohio" story, we examined several reasons, according to one citizen, that "Baseball" was the wrong choice for a town name following the merger of Baltimore and Basil in 1947. The final three reasons – numbers 4, 5, and 6 – for rejecting Baseball are listed below. These objections to the community's renaming were offered by an anonymous former resident. The first installment discussed why "Baseball" was the right name choice.

(A letter from the general manager of the Fairfield Paper Company,

H. L. Custer, regarding the dispute over the town's name)

Twin City News, June 5, 1947

4. Santa Claus, Indiana, is mentioned. An advertiser speaks of this place as having a large post office business, and thinks it would be wonderful to have people send letters to be postmarked "Baseball." How would this help our town? It would be a bother to the post office folks who have more important things to do.

Santa Claus, Indiana, has a population of 54 according to Rand McNally. Not quite the place for Baltimore and Basil to copy.

5. I read carefully about the "understanding" that a new name would be selected. But I have not read that the people that the people of Baltimore ever voted on this. (Writer's note: Most of the residents were aware that the folks in Basil expected the new name would not be Baltimore, and a legal notice indicated the same.)

6. After all, what is Baseball? It is a splendid name. But it is a big commercial business in which men are bought and sold and traded. (Writer's note: The year 1947 was also the first appearance of an African American man in a Major League Baseball game since the 1880s. Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the modern-day color barrier. Also, in 1974, the Supreme Court reversed the Curt Flood decision of two years prior, and from that point MLB players were no longer traded as property.) It is a great money-making business that requires many people to work on Sunday in transportation and in other lines. It is a business in which men are "old" at 36. Hardly the thing to name a beautiful community that will exist as long as the world stands, or should it have a name people can love?

6. (Writer's note: There were two 6s in the Twin City News article.) Young people under voting age who have to grow up in the place should also be consulted as to a new name. (Writer's note: Ironically, one of the major charges of the anti-"Baseball" voters during the later community ballot favoring "Baseball" was illegal voting, including the community's youth.) Maybe they would prefer to live in Football, Ohio.

(Election Day reminder from The Citizens Committee of Baltimore encouraging residents

to vote for the candidates sponsored by the Retain the Name "Baltimore" Committee)

Writer's note: The next installment of this story will look at the origins of this state-publicized feud, and some of the suggested names for the new community will be remembered. Stay tuned!

#JimReed #BaseballOhioSeries


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