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The glory of St. Albans

In the year 1902, the University of Virginia completed construction of its brand new baseball field. On March 25 of that year, U.Va. students, faculty, baseball players, and many fans witnessed what many would consider a miracle on their spic and span, well engineered baseball field. I can imagine they very carefully chose their foe for the first game on the new diamond. In my mind’s eye, I can see someone saying, “Now, we want to be sure that we don’t suffer the embarrassment of losing the first game on our beautiful field, so it is imperative that we pick the weakest team possible.”
“Alright,” someone suggested, “why not invite St. Albans; they’ll be glad to get the opportunity to play ball on a real baseball field.”
So, St. Albans was invited, and accepted. That little team probably was excited about their opportunity, and as they rode up the road to Charlottesville, they very likely prayed that it would not rain and spoil their chance. They felt sure they would win, because they brought along something that they called, “the St. Albans spirit.”
St. Albans was a preparatory school for boys, with an enrollment of 66, whose president was Professor George Miles, an educator and sports lover. The school was located on the Pulaski side of the bridge over New River, opposite the City of Radford, and later became St. Albans Psychiatric Hospital.
On that afternoon in March, little St. Albans pulled an upset, the likes of which has never been equaled in College baseball. When the game was over the crimson-clad little prep school walked away with a 14-3 victory over the University of Virginia.
Following is a report of the game published in the Charlottesville newspaper.
“St. Albans 14, Virginia 3. SPECIAL to the Progress.
Today in the first game on its new athletic field, Virginia’s husky baseball players were defeated by St. Albans, a prep school. The varsity was outplayed and out batted at every stage of the game, and Albans was ahead from the start.. In the seventh inning Peete was knocked out of the box, and Captain Carter took his place., allowing Albans only one more run to add to their 13 already made off Peete. Trytton, St. Albans pitcher, kept the home players guessing, allowing them only four hits.
Albans, by bunching hits and taking advantage of Virginia’s costly errors, made runs in the first, fifth, and seventh innings.
St. Albans won their next game over Roanoke College by a score of 10-0, then beat the agricultural college that became V.P.I. by the same score that they had Virginia. The same season, they defeated Richmond and William and Mary, and before the end of the season they beat Emory and Henry, then beat King college of Bristol 40-0. That year St. Albans declared themselves champions of southern college baseball.
An interesting side bar. One night soon after Albans stunning victory over Virginia, a fan of the team was riding across the bridge toward the school in a horsedrawn carriage. The horse balked, and the carriage stopped. The passenger had the driver get out and strike a match to see if he could learn why the horse had balked. When he did, he found marked on the bridge in red paint, St. Albans 14, Virginia 3. Getting back in the carriage, he remarked, “That score is enough to scare anyone to death, even a horse.”

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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The glory of St. Albans

In the year 1902, the University of Virginia completed construction of its brand new baseball field. On March 25 of that year, U.Va. students, faculty, baseball players, and many fans witnessed what many would consider a miracle on their spic and span, well engineered baseball field. I can imagine they very carefully chose their foe for the first game on the new diamond. In my mind’s eye, I can see someone saying, “Now, we want to be sure that we don’t suffer the embarrassment of losing the first game on our beautiful field, so it is imperative that we pick the weakest team possible.”
“Alright,” someone suggested, “why not invite St. Albans; they’ll be glad to get the opportunity to play ball on a real baseball field.”
So, St. Albans was invited, and accepted. That little team probably was excited about their opportunity, and as they rode up the road to Charlottesville, they very likely prayed that it would not rain and spoil their chance. They felt sure they would win, because they brought along something that they called, “the St. Albans spirit.”
St. Albans was a preparatory school for boys, with an enrollment of 66, whose president was Professor George Miles, an educator and sports lover. The school was located on the Pulaski side of the bridge over New River, opposite the City of Radford, and later became St. Albans Psychiatric Hospital.
On that afternoon in March, little St. Albans pulled an upset, the likes of which has never been equaled in College baseball. When the game was over the crimson-clad little prep school walked away with a 14-3 victory over the University of Virginia.
Following is a report of the game published in the Charlottesville newspaper.
“St. Albans 14, Virginia 3. SPECIAL to the Progress.
Today in the first game on its new athletic field, Virginia’s husky baseball players were defeated by St. Albans, a prep school. The varsity was outplayed and out batted at every stage of the game, and Albans was ahead from the start.. In the seventh inning Peete was knocked out of the box, and Captain Carter took his place., allowing Albans only one more run to add to their 13 already made off Peete. Trytton, St. Albans pitcher, kept the home players guessing, allowing them only four hits.
Albans, by bunching hits and taking advantage of Virginia’s costly errors, made runs in the first, fifth, and seventh innings.
St. Albans won their next game over Roanoke College by a score of 10-0, then beat the agricultural college that became V.P.I. by the same score that they had Virginia. The same season, they defeated Richmond and William and Mary, and before the end of the season they beat Emory and Henry, then beat King college of Bristol 40-0. That year St. Albans declared themselves champions of southern college baseball.
An interesting side bar. One night soon after Albans stunning victory over Virginia, a fan of the team was riding across the bridge toward the school in a horsedrawn carriage. The horse balked, and the carriage stopped. The passenger had the driver get out and strike a match to see if he could learn why the horse had balked. When he did, he found marked on the bridge in red paint, St. Albans 14, Virginia 3. Getting back in the carriage, he remarked, “That score is enough to scare anyone to death, even a horse.”

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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