Sue Martin 1 1975 Rockville Lions

History of the Rockville Baseball Association

The Rockville Baseball Association began in the early 1950s when a group of individuals became interested in bringing organized baseball to Rockville. Harry Bean and Durant Burton, along with their peers, formed 6 teams of local boys and called themselves the Twinbrook Boys Club. After a while, more boys wanted to join so additional teams were formed. To accommodate the addition of these new teams, an association was created in 1954, and called The Rockville Boys Baseball Association (RBBA).

In the early years of the RBBA, on opening day there was a parade of ballplayers who rode in the back of decorated pickup trucks and convertibles to celebrate the new season. The parade route began at Edwin W. Broome Junior High School and continued along Viers Mill Road to Woodley Gardens Ball Field, also known as the Harry Bean Field.

As a self-supporting organization, the RBBA needed to find ways to raise funds. In 1969, under the direction of Nanton Romney, a local artist, the RBBA helped the City of Rockville put on a talent show at the Rockville Civic Center. In exchange for the opportunity to sell refreshments at the event, members of the RBBA built the stage, set up the lighting, and constructed water sprays that were used to conceal the performers waiting in the wings. Another fundraiser, which was done for several years, was providing and selling refreshments at the annual fireworks display held at Richard Montgomery High School. The RBBA also sponsored a yearly raffle from 1969 to 1977, with prizes donated by local merchants. The money raised from each of the aforementioned projects was used to help provide equipment and uniforms to teams without sponsors.

In 1969, Rockville opened the city's first lighted ballpark, still known as Dogwood Park. Several RBBA managers and coaches joined together to build Press boxes and to dig ditches for the underground cables needed to provide power for the scoreboards. A local lumberyard donated the material for the press boxes, and the Coca- Cola Company provided the scoreboards. Dogwood Park, as well as the other city ball fields, was maintained by the city.

As the RBBA grew, the city realized that the organization had become so large it was no longer able to remain self-supporting. The city provided funds to help pay for umpires and equipment. Since a regular source of revenue was still needed, the RBBA opened a concession stand at Dogwood Park. The fans were grateful to have a place to buy a hot dog, soda, and popcorn during the games, and the RBBA benefited by the extra income. After a few years, it became necessary to set up a Coca-Cola Co. trailer in the parking lot of the lower field to accommodate the growing number of fans.

Over the years, the RBBA experienced several changes. The first All-Star games were played at Woodley Gardens over the July 4~ weekend. In the early seventies, the Greater Washington Baseball Tournament was introduced so the RBBA players could experience outside competition. Also during the seventies, an instructional league was developed for the beginning player. In the mid-eighties, the name of the Rockville Boys Baseball Association, was changed to the Rockville Baseball Association, due to the large number of girls participating in the game. In the nineties, the members decided it was time to begin a fall league so players were no longer limited to one season a year.

The Rockville Baseball Association has become a tradition in Rockville. There are men currently coaching their children's teams in the RBBA who themselves grew up playing in the association. We also have former players who have gone on to play or coach professionally. Jim Riggleman, former manager of the Washington Nationals, played in the RBBA. Mike Curtis, who played football for the Baltimore Colts and the Washington Redskins, has sponsored a team in the RBBA and has participated in opening day ceremonies. Chuck Miller of the Rockville Department of Recreation also played and then later became an umpire as well as former County Executive, Doug Duncan, who played baseball in the RBBA and his sons carried on the family tradition.

By the spring 2018 season, the Rockville Baseball Association was comprised of over 1,000 boys and girls ranging from ages 8-18. There are currently six different divisions, grouped according to age. They are the Instructional, Rookie, Pee Wee, Midget, Junior, and Senior Divisions. Area businesses or individuals sponsor all teams. The RBBA remains a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers, from the board of directors to the coaching staff, all with the goal to make sure that everyone has the ability to get outside and play ball!


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