Memorial Stadium

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

Baseball has a rich history in the city of Harrisonburg. The Turks have been here since 1920. Lots of baseball greats have played right here at memorial stadium.

"We've had 100's make it to the big leagues," said Bob Wease, General Manager Harrisonburg Turks. "David Echstien, John Rouch, Frank Menechino. It just goes on and on and on."

Bob Wease, a former Turk himself and now the general manager of the team, is trying to preserve some of that history and make it possible for more big name players to get their start right here. He's asking city council for help with the crumbling stadium.

"I'm afraid someone's going to fall down here. Then the next thing you know, we're going to have a lawsuit," said Wease.

The steps are falling apart. The press box is crowded with two people. And the bathrooms are in bad shape. Wease says it's not a good way to remember those for whom it was built.

"Policeman, Tucky Leak ran around collecting money. It was dedicated to the soldiers who died in world war two. As you can see there's a lot of local names on there," said Wease.

Wease wants the city, residents or the school board to put money into the project, so the thousands of Turks fans will have a place to go for many summers to come.

City Council plans on discussing the stadium at its meeting. Mayor Joe Fitzgerald says the school board will most likely turn the stadium over to the city in two years, when the new one is built for the high school.

Extended Web Coverage

Harrisonburg Turks

  • The Turks name originated from being located in Rockingham County, the poultry capital of the world.

  • The Harrisonburg Turks baseball team traces its history to before World War II. The team was originally part of the Class C Virginia League.

  • During the early years, the Turks and the Staunton Braves, competed as independents in that league with four other teams that had ties to major league clubs.

  • After World War II, local players played at Linville and at New Market. Harrisonburg eventually entered a team in the Massanutten League before getting into the stronger Valley League in 1950.

  • The team was semi-professional and included local collegiate players. Since 1961, the league has been sanctioned by the NCAA and teams are limited to players with college eligibility.

  • Today, the Harrisonburg Turks are a member of the eight team summer circuit, wooden bat Valley Baseball League. The Valley Baseball League is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and is endorsed by Major League Baseball. The Valley League is also one of nine summer leagues that are members of the National Association of Summer Collegiate Baseball.

    Source: A compilation of Web reports contributed to this report.


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