Past Tense

From about 1948 until the early 1960s, Dunwoody, Doraville, Norcross and Duluth had baseball teams and the people who lived in each of these areas enjoyed all that comes with a baseball team: the entertainment of watching the game, visiting with neighbors, enjoying the outdoors, and perhaps a refreshing beverage and snack. These weren’t little league teams, but a competitive (no pay) adult baseball league that traveled between the other towns.

Ralph Glaze, lived just around the corner from the Doraville field. His family owned the Glaze Grocery Store, which was later Glaze Hardware at the corner of Peeler Road and Winters Chapel Road. According to Ralph Glaze, the Doraville field was built on land that was owned by DeKalb County along Winters Chapel Road. The location was where the Scott Candler Water Filter Plant is today.

Jake Gantt got permission from the county to build the Doraville baseball field. He lived in a home where the Four Oaks Subdivision is today along Peeler Road. He built wooden bleachers with chicken wire across the front for the Doraville baseball field.

There was also a concession stand, complete with Coca-Colas, chips, and ice from the Doraville Ice Company. The drinks were kept in a big washtub and a bottle opener was always handy to open the bottled drinks. Mae Smith and Lucille Gantt ran the concession stand. In the 1980s and 1990s, Mae Smith was the crossing guard at Chesnut Elementary.

The games took place on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, with young men playing for their community team. Several of the Doraville team members worked at the new General Motors Automobile Plant. The automobile assembly plant opened in 1947.

Ken Anderson was 11 years old when Bud Crews, who worked for DeKalb County, had the land graded and put in a baseball field along Mount Vernon Road near today’s Dunwoody Village Parkway. Crews was manager of the Dunwoody baseball team. The Dunwoody field also had wooden bleachers, built by Bud Crews.

Jane Autry’s husband Clarence Autry played for the Dunwoody team, along with Edward Manning, and Lamar Eidson. She recalls that local businesses sponsored the team. Sometimes the team played at Dunwoody, other weekends they traveled to Doraville, Duluth and Norcross for games.

Ralph Glaze, Jane Autry, and Ken Anderson were among several people who recently visited the Donaldson-Bannister House to share their memories of growing up in Dunwoody. Each person was videotaped and the footage will soon be on the Dunwoody Preservation Trust website. These special memories of baseball in Dunwoody and Doraville were among the stories shared.

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