North Carolina Baseball

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Courtesy of the Charlotte Knights

At first, back in April, Anderson Rathbun was optimistic.

Like many of the countless folks who make their living by working for one of the 160 Minor League Baseball teams across the U.S., the general manager for the Burlington Royals was hopeful that his club would play baseball in 2020. Eventually, for Rathbun and everyone else, the reality of the pandemic settled in.

Courtesy of Chris Holaday

Eastern North Carolina’s Tobacco State League only lasted for five seasons. From 1946 to 1950 teams including the Sanford Spinners and the Lumberton Auctioneers battled for baseball greatness and ticket sales. They entertained crowds eager for a return to normalcy after World War II. Many of the players had recently returned from war, others were college baseball stars, and still others were just hoping to make a better hourly wage than they could earn in the local mills.