Cliffside’s Little League: The First Team
The first Little League baseball team in Cliffside was organized in 1957 by Edwin Hames. It was named the Cliffside Braves. Marshall Cobb and Francis Fasolino assisted and The Rev. L. Baine Laye, Minister of the Cliffside United Methodist Church served as advisor. The Braves were sponsored by the Cliffside American Legion Post # 367, Earl Johnson, Commander.
The greatest hurdle was clearing an old abandoned field which had once been the home field of the town’s baseball team prior to WWII. Through a labor of love, volunteers worked countless hours clearing the area of overgrown weeds, brush, small pines and oaks, rocks and poison oak. This is the same playing field used today by the Tri-Community Little League.
To field the first team merchants and friends came through with financial support through donations and resources to purchase the team’s uniforms and to build the fences, backstop and benches. Those providing the initial donations were: Dr. H.L. Radford and daughter Wanda, Dr. William Sanders, Hawkins Hardware Co., Cliffside Garage, Cliffside Theater, Cliffside Cafe, Jackson’s Dept. Store, Cliffside Barber Shop, Windy’s Grill, Graveyard Grocery, McKinney Funeral Home, Cliffside Super Market, Hawkins Milling Co., Woodmen of the World # 367, and the Cliffside United Methodist Church.
On August 23 of the same year, the first Annual Father-Son Banquet for the team was held at the Methodist Church Fellowship Center. The youth of the church prepared and served the meal.
Individuals and merchants sponsored this event. This was graciously supported by John Compton and his dad Grover Compton, Cone Mills Lunch Room; John C. Mills, Cliffside Drug Co,; Joe Biggerstaff, Cliffside Dry Cleaners; Fred “Bobo” Green, Cliffside Super Market; Solon Smart, Hawkins Hardware Co.; Lacy Price, Ralph “Spud” Crawford, and Bill Jolley, Cliffside Post Office employees; and Carl Nix, a special friend and grandfather of one of the team members.
During the recognition service M.A. Bearden, Cone Mills Plant Manager; Solon Smart, a local merchant and L. Baine Laye, Minister, paid a special tribute to each one involved in accomplishing such a worthwhile feat.
The Cliffside Braves became a founding member of the Tri-Community Little League. Edwin Hames, Manager, coached the Braves team until such time that his job made it necessary for him to resign. He later returned to coach a second team, the Cliffside Cubs.
Courtesy of Ed Hames Family Collection