Appy League Returns to Huntington, WV
Photo Courtesy of the Appalachian League
Huntington, West Virginia, will be home to an Appalachian League in 2024 and call the stadium at Marshall University home. It marks the first time the city has been represented in the league since 1995. The news comes a month after reports of the Princeton Whistle Pigs ceasing operations.
The ball club will play its home games at Jack Cook Field, the future home of the Marshall Thundering Herd baseball program. Currently under construction, the stadium is scheduled to open on March 1 for the school's first game.
The last ballpark to house an Appy League club was the St. Cloud Commons, built in 1910. The Commons featured a covered grandstand, and a set of bleachers down the first base line but was well past its prime as a viable ballpark when the Huntington Cubs called it home. The stadium included a giant cardboard cub, named Harry Beary, in centerfield that would move up and down after the Cubbies scored a run or made a great play.
The Cubs drew 66,402 to the stadium in its first season in 1990 and were among the league leaders, averaging crowds of 1,658 per game for the five seasons of operation. The Cubs pulled out of town in 1995 and were replaced by a co-op team named the River City Rumblers. Attendance fell to 20,631 for the year, with a dismal 616 fans per game. The independent Heartland League relocated the Altoona Rail Kings to town, but it folded midway through the 1998 season due to poor attendance figures.
Huntington is 2.5 hours away from its nearest opponent in Bluefield, West Virginia, and 4 hours north from the cluster of teams in the Eastern Tennessee markets of Greeneville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Elizabethtown, and Bristol. When the Huntington Cubs called the market home from 1990-1994, the plan was for a new ballpark to be erected - 30 years later - a new stadium would be built.
Stadium Journey readers and travelers will have the opportunity to visit a new team this summer, along with the university club, during the spring months of 2024. The stadium’s features will include an open concourse, synthetic turf, and a capacity for 3,500 people.
Organized baseball has been around in town since 1910, and a slew of ball clubs have called the city home from the Boosters, Babes, Redbirds, Jewels, Aces, Blue Sox, Rail Kings, and the River City Rumblers. The organization will announce a team name and colors in the future, but it will use the Tri-State moniker.
The Tr-City team is scheduled to open on June 15.