Keep Morehouse Beautiful would like to help preserve the history of Baron Ballpark, a park that hosted many state and district tournaments, by purchasing a historic marker for the park.
WV DeBlieux, an almost lifelong resident of Morehouse Parish, said the ballpark is currently the home field for Bastrop High School, but was once the home field of an amateur baseball team called the Bastrop Barons.
"I have lived here since I was 4," he said. "Baron Ballpark was originally built by International Paper, when Joe Pate was manager there. High school teams played there. Semi-pro teams played there. It has been renovated several times.
"There used to be a press box on the top of it. The concession stand used to be out in the front where you first go in, but it was taken out in the 70s. We hosted State Dixie tournaments there. I coached but never played."
Elva Greer, another lifelong resident, said he played ball there in the 7th grade.
"A lot of good ballplayers came through that league," he said. "Eight different teams played there. Mickey Mantle had twin brothers that were part of a team in Monroe that came and played a game there, and it drew a crowd of almost 5,000 people. New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry also played a game there. Wayne Causey, who played for the Baltimore Orioles, was on a team at Neville High School and played there too."
Greer said the property belonged to a man in Florida and then was eventually donated to the Morehouse Athletic Association.
DeBlieux said the ballpark was once well-known in the state for putting on a good tournament.
Keep Morehouse Beautiful President Vicki Carpenter said the idea for a historical sign started with KMB member Billy Limerick who had fond memories at the park.
"He brought up having a clean-up over there in a meeting," she said. "We thought it should have a sign on it, and Billy sketched it out."
"I'll be 75 in September," Limerick said. "Back in the mid-50s I attended several games there. It was a big thing in the mid-50s. The Big 8 League had eight teams in Northeast Louisiana at the time."
He said he decided to sketch a sign out for the park because he feels that landmarks are important.
"I sketched something out because it was always so blank," he said. "I am just big on signs to identify different things. The sign will say something like 'Historic Baron Ballpark, former home of the Semi-Pro Bastrop Barons, established 1945 by International Paper.' My idea was to get a 4x6 sign and bolt it up, but it has gotten more elaborate, in aluminum or something like that."
There have been several clean-ups done by KMB, and Carpenter said she would like to thank Brad Bradshaw, Morehouse Parish Public Schools Athletic Director, for his collaboration in organizing two clean ups at the park.
KMB is raising money to purchase the historic marker for the park. To contribute, please make a check out to Keep Morehouse Beautiful and mark for the Baron sign, and mail to KMB at 110 N. Franklin St., Bastrop, LA 71220.