Baseball at Thurber
By Frank Chamberlain
During the heyday of Thurber, baseball was one of the favorite forms of recreation. The T&P Company actively promoted their team, the Thurber Colts. Company officials built a ballpark for the team and actively recruited employees to play. These teams were meant to publicize the company, entertain the townspeople, and develop the spirit of cooperation, competitiveness, and camaraderie that would hopefully carry over into the workplace [Rhinehart 62].
The ballpark at Thurber was originally located east of Park Row at the eastern side of town. (This was the middle class section of town.) Eventually, a new and improved field was built on top of Cemetery Hill on the north end of town. This new ballpark featured grandstands and an outfield fence. However, by the 1920s, as the sport began attracting more and more spectators, the games were once again played at the more spacious site at Park Row [Hardman 123].
The Colts were a highly successful team, frequently being known as one of the premier semi-pro teams in the state. They were a member of the Oil Belt League that included the teams from Ranger, Eastland, Cisco, Breckenridge, and Abilene. The team won the state championship in 1896. These games were discontinued in the 1920s, and the city teams only used the stadium [Hardman 123-124].
In addition to the semi-pro team, Thurber was home to several local baseball clubs. The teams were organized along ethnic lines or occupational lines. A game could be seen on virtually every day during the season [Rhinehart 62, Hardman 124].
Hardman, Weldon B. Fire in a Hole, Gordon, TX: Thurber Historical Association, 1975.
Rhinehart, Marilyn D. A Way of Work and a Way of Life. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1992.