Tuesday, May 18, 2010
More On Collegiate Summer Leagues...The Cape
The Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) is an amateur baseball league located on Cape Cod in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, in which many college baseball stars play during the summer. Many future Major League Baseball players have started there during their college years; MLB has provided financial support to the Cape League for over 40 years. During the 2008 MLB season, 205 CCBL alumni played in the majors or were on injured reserve.
Additionally over 1,000 CCBL alumni were playing in professional baseball in 2006.[The league is also notable for its continuing use of wooden bats. Because it draws top-tier college players, the level of play is often considered the equivalent of high-A Minor League Baseball. The CCBL Hall of Fame is located in the "Dugout", the lower-level of the JFK Museum in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The Cape Cod Baseball League is one of eight leagues in the National Alliance of Summer Baseball.
Three of the teams in the Cape League are named after MLB teams. However, in late 2008 Major League Baseball enforced its trademark and required teams to either change their names or buy their uniforms and merchandise only through licensed vendors. As a result, the Chatham Athletics changed their team name to "Anglers", and the Orleans Cardinals changed their name to "Firebirds". In March of 2010 the Hyannis Mets joined the Anglers and Firebirds, changing their team name to "Harbor Hawks".
The Cape Cod League in popular culture
The Cape Cod League was the setting for the 2001 Hollywood film Summer Catch. The 2003 documentary film Touching the Game by Jim Carroll chronicled the 2003 CCBL season and explored the league's history.
There are several books on the Cape League. Baseball by the Beach by Christopher Price was published in 1998 and discusses the league and its history. In 2002, writer Jim Collins followed the Chatham Athletics (now the Chatham Anglers) for the season and wrote The Last Best League about the team and its players.
Baseball on Cape Cod (Images of Baseball by Dan Crowley has many photos of the early and modern Cape League eras. The 2004 novel Slider by Patrick Robinson takes place in a Maine summer league, but is actually based on the Cape League. In 2005, Beach Chairs and Baseball Bats by author Steve Weissman and Cape Crusaders by author Mike Thomas were published. The latter focuses on player interviews, while the former goes behind the scenes of a typical Cape League season.