Review by Gary
Since 1939, Historic Hicks Field has hosted baseball in the sleepy town of Edenton, North Carolina. On the two occasions I visited this grand little ballpark, I found the stands full of energetic and interested fans that were pulling for the hometown Edenton Steamers, a member of the Tidewater Summer League. This wood-bat league is comprised of collegiate summer baseball teams whose players are recruited for the league and stay with local folks who are proud to sponsor them for a few months to play ball away from home.
With a population of about 5,000, Edenton is a natural harbor on the Inner Banks of NC, founded by adventurers from Jamestown, VA, who drifted south to settle here in 1658. Baseball came a few years later and the current Steamers (a.k.a. Clams) have been residents since 1998. Hicks was a WPA project with covered wooden stands built to hold about 500 people and is the oldest remaining wooden grandstand of its type in NC.
The wooden stands directly behind home plate go right to field level and the players’ dugouts are actually dug out about 3 feet into the ground like the old days. Instead of sitting in the dugouts, players stand at field level behind a screen that protects the mostly empty dugout. One of the Steamers’ two mascots, Sam the Clam, spent most of the game “socializing” with the home team rather than entertaining the crowd. I suspect that Sam was actually a shucked Steamer underneath that huge Muppet clam head. Sam’s counterpart, Pam, was also on the “lam” most of the game, perhaps spending time with her fam.
The game itself was pretty much over in the first inning when Edenton hung up 6 runs, highlighted by a Clam Slam, which I’ll take credit for naming because the announcer sure didn’t get too excited about this feat of molluscian strength. The Clams would send the Holly Springs Salamanders slithering away with a 16-1 defeat in a 7 inning run-ruled tilt on this cool evening in June. It was, “Wham, bam, thank you, clam.”
Even though ballpark is 2 miles from Albemarle Sound, there were no clam concessions despite there being a “clam shack” on the 3rd base side manned by a person of uncertain vocation. There was, instead, a concession that made fresh mini donuts right before your eyes. They were not clam flavored, which is probably a good thing.
Foul balls routinely flew out of the ballpark and laid unmolested in the yards across the street, unless a gaggle of kids felt the urge to retrieve one of the orbs. Historic Hicks Field, as it is lovingly known and advertised, is a great place to catch a ballgame. With a plethora of local ads on the outfield wall and no high-tech video board, watching a game here is as pastoral as a baseball game in the 1950’s should be.