Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sports Center Saturday: Woody Woodring

Sports Center Saturday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks us to discuss our ancestor’s love of sports.

We’re a baseball family.  For better or for worse, we root for the Atlanta Braves while my sister’s family cheers for the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox.  When my nephews were playing, their dad coached Pony league ball and travel ball, and now he coaches the high school team.  Our daughter played fast pitch softball in Little League, travel ball, and high school.  My cousin Glenn was a collector of baseball memorabilia and even paid for his 3 daughters’ braces just selling baseball cards.  As we say in the South, “We’re eat up with it.”

So to have a professional ballplayer in the family is a big deal. 

Arthur Henry “Woody” Woodring is no one famous. I didn’t know him either, but he was married to my great-aunt Velma Davis.

Even after looking at numerous photos, studying the census records, and trying to learn about old ball teams, I still know very little except this:  Woody was born in Pennsylvania about 1904.  In the 1920 Waynesboro, Pennsylvania census, he was working in a factory and his mother was running a boarding house; his father is not listed. Woody and Velma married in 1927, but he is nowhere to be found in the 1930 census although she is living with her parents in Shenandoah, Virginia, and is listed as married.  Woody died in 1951, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where he and Velma lived.  At the time he was a salesman for a meat packing company.

So, what about that baseball career?  Why wasn’t he listed in the 1930 census?  I’m going to guess Woody was traveling, playing ball somewhere.

Judging by his uniform, he played baseball for the Shenandoah Indians, one of the top teams in the Shenandoah Valley League, which was started in 1923. 

I wish I could identify his teammates.

Look at that glove.  Was he a catcher?

These people look authoritative.  My guess is a manager and umpire.

Today the SVL is funded by Major League Baseball as part of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball, an association of 8 summer leagues.  To date the league has produced over 1000 major league baseball players.

Shenandoah Ball Park 1951
Image scanned from Shenandoah:
A History of Our Town and Its People

Unfortunately, I don’t know the particulars of Woody’s career except that it didn’t last.  Maybe the Depression got in the way. 

My mother always remembered Velma and Woody as “the fun ones” in the family.  They didn’t have kids of their own, but they enjoyed entertaining their niece and nephew. 

Woody and Uncle Orvin Jr.
in 1928

It seems throughout his life, Woody enjoyed all kinds of sports including hunting and fishing.

No comments:

Post a Comment