With America’s National Pastime’s origins recorded as early as the Civil War, one popular opinion remains certain – the undying love for the timeless sport of baseball.
The Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) originated in 1885 fielding amateur ballplayers. Its historical legacy populated mostly by soldiers returning from the battlefield (Civil War, WWI, WWII) with additional regional players lined in between. This pattern remained consistent until 1963 when the NCAA officially sanctioned the league jumpstarting it’s national stardom. After the decade 1975-1984, the CCBL became the first collegiate summer league to shift away from aluminum bats and transition to wood in the summer ’85.
From renowned professional baseball scouts, to collegiate coaches, and MLB managers who watched from afar, to established big leaguers who wore a uniform – the feelings towards the most coveted amateur tournament in the nation are sacred.
Popularized by Freddie Prince Jr. and Jessica Biel’s adaptation of the league in Summer Catch (2001), outsiders got a taste of what a summer in Cape Cod entails. Every year, ballplayers travel across the country to field 10-teams within the region: Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Cotuit, Falmouth, Harwich, Hyannis, Orleans, Wareham, and Yarmouth-Dennis. Each player is given a host family, a summer job to work between games, and community support.
Household names like Nomar Garciaparra (Orleans ’93), Jacoby Ellsbury (Falmouth ’04), and the likes of legendary Hall Of Famer’s like Frank Thomas (Orleans ’88), Mickey Cochrane, and Carlton Fisk all have stepped foot onto this prestigious diamond in years past. These trailblazers that came through the league are just some of many to make it big.
Today, the small exclusive alumni numbers less than 1,200. As of 2016, one in every seven players have competed in the CCBL who also played at professional level.
Players on current MLB rosters who’ve played at least one season include: Andrew Miller (P, Chatham ’04-’05) of Cleveland Indians, Josh Donaldson (3B, Harwich ’06) of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, Hyannis ’09-’11, ) of the Boston Red Sox, Kris Bryant (3B, Chatham ’11) of the Chicago Cubs, to name a few.
Rosters were announced this passed week with the 44-game season only four months away. With the CCBL now entering its 133rd season with new faces sporting unwavering potential, skill, and charisma, do not be surprised to see a future Hall Of Famer this summer. At the very least, a few months on the Cape will show scouts their ability to compete at the premier talent-producing tournament in the country.