By RENE TORRES
Special to the NEWS/PRESS
The baseball bug hit the Rio Grande Valley as early as the mid-late 1800s. It was then, as it is now, that, “America’s game,” was the entertainment source for spectators in America.
Abner Doubleday was given the credit for inventing the game in 1839, and by 1868, the RGV saw its first baseball encounter. Doubleday, by the way, was no stranger to this area. He was an officer under the leadership of Zackary Taylor during the Mexican War. He was stationed for three months in Brownsville’s Fort Brown after the war in 1848.
It was on Christmas Day of 1868 that the Rio Grande Club from Brownsville crossed bats against Club Union of Matamoros. It was advertised as the “Border Championship. To make a long story short, the boys from across river embarrassed the local squad, 49-32.
After this point, amateur baseball in the Valley expanded with every season. By the turn of the 20th Century, the kids’ game of baseball had a home in almost every city in the RGV.
A historical season for high school baseball:
Moving forward to 1916, Valley high school boys were anxious to hit the diamond. Cameron and Hidalgo County school officials met and created the Interscholastic Athletic Baseball League and announced a series of games on both sites.
Due to few entries from both counties, the league combined the circuit into one league. Cameron County was represented by Brownsville, San Benito, and Harlingen. Hidalgo County squads included Mercedes, Donna, and McAllen.
Want the entire story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS, or subscribe to our e-Edition by clicking HERE!