As the days grow shorter and the breezes a bit cooler in the waning days of August, the Cape Cod Baseball League closes its doors after another 10-week season unlike anything you will experience anywhere else. The CCBL is home to some of the country’s top amateur baseball talent, competing for ten teams spread throughout the peninsula with names like Cotuit Kettleers and Chatham Anglers. From a bleacher seat at many a Cape League ballpark, you can smell the salt air or see the fog rolling in during the later innings.
1,073 Cape League alumni have gone on to play in the Major Leagues, a number for the nearby Boston Red Sox. Over the years, the Cape League has evolved from a town ball format comprised primarily of locals (for instance, my great-grandfather pitched in an early iteration of the Cape League) and occasional interlopers (such a Somerville, MA native and Baseball Hall of Famer, Harold “Pie” Traynor) to an invitation-only showcase for top collegiate talent. The “modern era” of the CCBL began around 1963.
And that’s where our story picks up: since then, dozens of future Boston Red Sox have toiled for a summer or two (or three) on the Cape – some just passing through, others racking up hardware and accolades along the way.