JAMESTOWN – A book capturing the history of professional baseball in Jamestown has been updated and republished to include additional details since its first launch over 20 years ago.
The Jamestown Tarp Skunks and members of Jamestown Community Baseball held an event Saturday morning at the Robert H. Jackson Center celebrating the official launch of the book “Our Game: From Unknowns to Tarp Skunks, 155 Years (And Counting!) of Baseball in Jamestown, New York.”
The book is of reprint of the 1998 book “Across the Seams” by Dave Mulei, with new, additional chapters contributed and edited by Scott Kindberg, long-time reporter and current sports editor of the Jamestown Post-Journal.
The event featured a discussion involving Mulei and Kindberg, along with Randy Anderson, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. It was moderated by Jamestown Community Baseball founding member, attorney and local history buff and baseball fan Greg Peterson.
Kindberg explained that while he helped to choose much of the content that went into covering the 25 additional years of baseball in the community, much of it was actually written by the former Post-Journal Sports editor, the late Jim Riggs.
“Fortunately, Jim clipped out every article and every column he ever wrote. So Randy suggested, ‘Well. Since Jim’s stuff is all cataloged, why don’t we see what we can find that relates to his coverage of the Jammers from 1995 to 2014.’ And then myself and the staff at the Post-Journal picked up the coverage of the collegiate wood bat league from 2015 to the present,” Kindberg said.
The book not only includes coverage of professional baseball in the city until the Jamestown Jammers Single-A team’s departure in 2014, but also the return of baseball by the Jammers’ summer collegiate team the following year and the announced “Jamestown Tarp Skunks” team of 2020.
Anderson also helped to create a database of all players who ever made it to the major league level, explaining those players are an important part of sports history in our area.
“Our guys are in that book. And that’s our job at the Hall of Fame, it’s to honor and preserve the sports legacy of Chautauqua County and nothing says it better than the history of baseball,” Anderson said.
Mulei, who joined the discussion from the New York City area via zoom webstreaming, explained that his original book – along with the expansion provided Kindberg – does more than just cover the year-by-year history of the teams that played, saying it also explains how community leaders and various stakeholders worked to keep it going over the years.
“I think this is a story that is about more than just the game on the field in Jamestown. I think what you have all been part of – that continuum that you’re on – is crucial and essential. I think it’s a playbook for other folks in other towns committing to other projects and things that are bigger than themselves,” Mulei said.
In addition to the release of the new book, Peterson said that the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame also has posters now available for sale that feature the baseball cards of all major league players who ever played for a Jamestown team, from the early 1940s all the way to the present day. That includes Hall-of-Famers Nellie Fox and Randy Johnson, along with an estimated 180 others.
Many of the cards were provided by Jamestown’s “Mr. Baseball” – Russ Diethrick.
“Russ was gracious enough to extend to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame his collection [of baseball cards]. His collection has now been captured for the first time in posters, which are for sale. That is a collection of folks who played baseball in Jamestown and came to go on to the majors,” Peterson said.
The book and two separate posters featuring the baseball players who made it to the “Big Show” are all now available for sale at the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.