Many people have argued and continue to argue that baseball needs a way to draw in the millennials and younger generations. I present exhibit A as evidence that baseball is finding ways to draw in the younger crowd.
This is the Frederick Keys Rugrats Jersey, and that is a show that millennials (myself included) grew up watching. This jersey is cool and I had wished I could have watched it. It brings out so much nostalgia for me. I remember watching the Rugrats when it first started, as well as the movies which accompanied it, and the memories that go along with the Rugrats (mostly passing long car rides watching the Rugrats go to Paris). ‘
Here you can see the jersey in action.
Photo: Courtesy of nickalive.blogspot.com
The Frederick Keys are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Orioles based out of Frederick, Maryland. Their nickname pays homage to Francis Scott Key, the Star-Spangled Banner author. The Keys play their home games at Harry Grove Stadium.
Before they were the Frederick Keys, the Frederick team was a founding member of the Blue Ridge League, from 1915 until the league collapsed at the end of the 1930 season. During that time span, the Frederick team had several different nicknames including the Hustlers, Champs, and Warriors. In addition, they won the Blue Ridge League Championship in 1915 and 1921. The Frederick team from that period produced several notable players including Chick Fullis and Rollie Hemsley. When the Blue Ridge League went under baseball wouldn’t return until 1989 with the arrival of the Keys.
Charles “Chick” Fillis was a professional baseball player for eight seasons, playing the New York Giants (’28-’32), the Philadelphia Phillies (’33-’34) and finally the St.Louis Cardinals(’34,’36) playing mostly as a center fielder.
Fillis with the NY Giants courtesy of Wikipedia
Fillis has a career Batting Average of .295, 12 home runs, and 167 RBIs. His best season came in 1933 when he led the NL in at-bats (647), singles (162), putouts (410), posting a .309 BA, 200 hits, 91 runs, 31 doubles, 18 stolen bases while helping the Cardinals win the ’34 World Series. Fillis spent three years with the Frederick team-1924, 1925, 1926.
Ralston “Rollicking Rollie” Hemsley played nineteen seasons in the MLB as a catcher, playing with the Pittsburgh Pirates (’28-’31), the Chicago Cubs (’31-’32), the Cincinnati Reds (’33, ’42), the St.Louis Browns (’33-’37), the Cleveland Indians (’38-’41), the New York Yankees (’42-’44), and the Philadelphia Phillies (’46-’47).
Hemsley with the St. Louis Browns courtesy of Wikipedia
Hemsley has a career batting average of .262 with 1,321 hits and 555 RBIs. He had 5,047 at-bats in 1321 games and hit 31 home runs, had a .311 on-base percentage and a .360 slugging percentage along with a career .978 fielding average. His best years came when he played for the Browns in ’34 and ’35 hitting .309 and .290 respectively hitting seven triples both years as well. In ’35, he made the all-star team and finished 9th in MVP voting. Two years later he found himself being traded away after violating team rules.
Specifically, it was Hemsley’s battle with alcoholism that led him to be kicked off the Browns, as well has three other teams. After his playing career, Hemsley would coach for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Washington Senators, and the minor league Columbus Red Birds.