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Sports NotebookSports Notebook: Great summer reading

Sports Notebook: Great summer reading

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David Driver recently added to his vast resume of writing about many sports over so many years in Virginia by helping to write and publish a book about baseball in the state.

It’s titled “From Tidewater to the Shenandoah, Snapshots from Virginia’s Rich Baseball Legacy.” Driver and Lacy Lusk co-wrote the 360-page book.

What a great idea.

The book is a detailed list of so many snapshots from Virginia’s rich and impactful baseball history, with color photos on the front and back covers and inside, as well. There are several chapters on past and present Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, who have ties to Virginia, plus info about high schools and colleges in the metro area.


Major League standout pitcher Justin Verlander, a Virginia native, is written about in the book. So is Deacon Phillippe, the first winning pitcher in the first World Series-game ever played, and Julie Croteau is mentioned. She was the first woman to ever play for a college baseball team in the United States.

The Rockingham County Baseball League, founded in 1924 in the central Shenandoah Valley, is the second-oldest continuous league in the nation, after Major League Baseball. Its neighbor, the Valley Baseball League, is one of the oldest NCAA-sanctioned summer circuits in the country. Each are included in the book.

With well more than 400 career victories, current Madison High School head baseball coach Mark Gjormand is mentioned in the book.

Virginia is the birthplace of five Hall of Famers, and four of them played in the Negro Leagues: Leon Day, Ray Dandridge, Jud Wilson and Pete Hill. The other is Eppa Rixey.

Two former University of Virginia teammates – Ryan Zimmerman and Sean Doolittle – hoisted the World Series trophy playing for the Nationals in 2019.

And Abner Doubleday, the person said to have invented baseball, is buried in Virginia.

The lists go on and on.

The two authors have discussed the book on ESPN radio in Richmond and Harrisonburg, and may do so in other cities.

Driver has been a sportswriter, sports editor and sports stringer for various newspapers and other publications in Virginia, writing about baseball on all levels all along the way.

 He’s long been a baseball lover. Born in Harrisonburg, Driver played high-school baseball at Turner Ashby High, American Legion ball for Harrisonburg Post 27, then played one year at Eastern Mennonite University.

Lusk has deep Virginia roots also, graduating from Monacan High in Chesterfield County, then the University of Virginia. He has written about tons of baseball state wide and is a guru regarding minor-league ball in the state.

The authors’ love for the sport is very apparent in their book, certainly a great summer read, or at anytime for that matter, about the many snapshots, and more, of much standout Virginia hardball.

– Dave Facinoli


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