Saturday, November 12, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 12: Occupation

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

I never knew my granduncle Arthur Henry “Woody” Woodring, but my mother always said he and Velma were the fun aunt and uncle. It is easy to see why since in every photo, he has a big smile.

Except in this one. It’s his Game Face.
Woody Woodring Summer 1926
Woody Woodring, catcher
Summer 1926
playing for the Shenandoah shops
Woody was a professional baseball player for a time. He worked on the electrical force of the Norfolk & Western Railroad in Shenandoah, Virginia. In the 1920s N&W sponsored a number of sports teams including basketball and baseball teams that competed against teams from other towns along the N&W line.

Woody was playing on the shops team even while he began his professional baseball career as a catcher in 1924 for the Martinsburg Blue Sox, evidently playing both at the same time. The Blue Sox were part of the Blue Ridge League comprised of six level D (Rookie) teams from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.

In those days, the team with the best record for the season became the league champions.  It was Woody’s first year on the team but the Martinsburg Blue Sox’s third straight championship title. The play-off system didn’t start until 1928, the same year that some major league teams started affiliating with the minor teams.  Woody’s team was affiliated with what was then the Philadelphia Athletics.  Other teams were affiliated with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Senators.

When I told Woody’s story in 2012, it appeared his last season was in 1929. However, I have since discovered that is not so. Apparently the Blue Ridge League continued. In 1930, Woody was released from the Blue Sox and picked up by the Cumberland (Maryland) Colts, an affiliate of the New York Yankees. At some point he returned to the Blue Sox as manager as well as a playing member. A news article dated May 31, 1934 reported he resigned as manager because it interfered with his business interests – whatever they were.

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Playing sports was a much tougher life back then than now. Those guys really had to have a love for the game. My father was a basketball star at West Virginia University after WW2. He could have gone professional and did a short stint with some smaller league. His real dream was to be a part of a team like the Harlem Globetrotters since he admired their antics a great deal. He tried to get backing to start a similar team, but, alas, it never came to pass. Though he did end up with a nice juggling career on the side of his day job.

    Arlee Bird
    Wrote By Rote

  2. My dad was a high school and college track star which can make it difficult when researching newspapers as I get a list of track meet results. Not that I don't like seeing that but I want stuff that gives me new clues.