Kicking Off the Bluefield Ridge Runner Baseball Season

Last updated: June 3, 2024

The Excitement is Building

As summer approaches in Mercer County, West Virginia, the excitement is palpable – it’s time for the Bluefield Ridge Runner baseball season to start! This team, part of the revamped Appalachian League, brings our community together to enjoy the thrill of America’s favorite pastime. The Ridge Runners aren’t just about baseball; they’re about local pride, community spirit, and creating unforgettable memories. The first game will kick off on June 4 at 6:30 p.m., against the Burlington Sock Puppets.

Early Beginnings

The history of professional baseball in Bluefield dates back to the early 20th century. Baseball teams in the region have played under various names and leagues over the decades, with the first professional team appearing as the Bluefield Blue-Grays in the early 1900s. The team’s roots in the Appalachian League began in 1924 when the league was first formed.

The Bluefield Orioles Era

One of the most significant periods in Bluefield baseball history was the affiliation with the Baltimore Orioles. From 1958 to 2010, the team was known as the Bluefield Orioles. During this era, many future Major League Baseball stars passed through Bluefield, using it as a stepping stone in their professional careers. Notable players include Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, and Boog Powell. This long-standing relationship with the Orioles helped cement Bluefield’s reputation as a key player development site.

Transition to the Blue Jays

In 2011, the team entered a new chapter as they became an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, changing their name to the Bluefield Blue Jays. This partnership lasted until 2020 and continued the tradition of nurturing young talent, sending several players to the major leagues.

The Birth of the Ridge Runners

In 2021, Major League Baseball reorganized its minor league system, and the Appalachian League transitioned into a summer collegiate league. This shift led to the creation of the Bluefield Ridge Runners, named to honor the region’s scenic beauty and the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains. The new team identity was embraced by the community, symbolizing a fresh start and continued dedication to the sport.

Community Spirit

The Bluefield Ridge Runners are deeply connected to our community. Throughout the season, the team participates in local events, charity drives, and youth baseball clinics, strengthening the bond between players and fans. On June 20th, Visit Mercer County will host a Happy Birthday West Virginia Party at Bowen Field. The first 250 guests receive a birthday cupcake from Visit Mercer County. Local businesses play a crucial role in supporting the team through sponsorships and partnerships, helping the Ridge Runners thrive and boosting our local economy.

With 24 homes games, there is plenty of chances to enjoy a game. Bowen Field features a beer garden, playground, concessions and is pet-friendly! To keep up with the Ridge Runners, visit their website or on our event calendar.