Talk about getting off to a good start, in their first year of existence the 1938 Amsterdam Rugmakers won the Canadian American League Pennant by 7 games over second-place Cornwall with a sterling 79-40 record. Today’s Amsterdam Birthday celebrant played a huge role in the team’s success. Ford Garrison started in left field for manager Admiral Martin’s first place ball club and led the Rugmakers with 156 base hits, 25 doubles and 12 triples while belting 17 home runs and averaging a sparkling .327.
Born on August 29, 1915, Garrison loved his native state big time. In an interview with Jack Minnoch, he told the then Amsterdam Recorder Sports Editor that South Carolina turned out ballplayers about as easily as it converted cotton to textiles! With its large doses of Italian and Polish culture and foods, Amsterdam must have seemed a million miles away from Garrison’s hometown of Greenville but one thing was for sure, he felt right at home in batters box at Mohawk Mills Park.
As Rug City fans learned quickly, the downside of being a host city of a minor league ball club is that you don’t get to keep your best players for very long….