This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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BING CROSBY STADIUM IS THE PRIDE
OF FRONT ROYAL, VIRGINIA
(From Radio Recall, February 2010)
So how did OTR’s most famous crooner come to be associated with a baseball stadium for collegiate summer teams in Front Royal ?
Front Royal has long been known as a baseball town, but until 1950, it provided no formal playing field for its favorite spectator sport. The fifty acres, along Happy Creek, were purchased in the late 1940s for $250 an acre.
The Front Royal - Warren County Recreation Association then undertook the project of raising funds to develop this baseball venue. Besides playing fields, the stadium needed a wall, bleachers, dugouts and lighting.
A goal of $10,000 was set for accomplishing all that needed to be done. Local citizens and businesses were invited to purchase bonds in denominations of $10 per bond to finance the project. Various fund raising projects were undertaken.
A fortunate break for the community and its fund raising efforts came in the spring of 1949, when Bing Crosby was Grand Marshal of the Apple Blossom Festival in nearby Winchester, VA. Raymond R. Guest, Sr., a personal friend of the late entertainer, prevailed upon him to make a personal appearance in Front Royal on behalf of the recreation association.
Mr. Crosby appeared before a sell-out crowd in Warren County High School. During the ensuing year, plans were made for a “Bing Crosby Day” on April 1, 1950. This celebration, to benefit the recreation association, drew large crowds from the region. Mr. Crosby entertained and captivated the huge audience with his expert blending of friendliness and informality. Highlight of the evening was his rendition of "I feel like I'm on my own soil, when I'm down in Old Front Royal," his own version of "Dear Hearts and Gentle People".
It was fitting that a grateful community named its new stadium in honor of this nationally known star of film, radio, and television, who had donated his time and money to forward one of its dreams.
In 1984, the Front Royal Cardinals, who play in Bing Crosby Stadium, joined the Valley Baseball League , one of eight summer collegiate baseball leagues that are members of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball and is funded in part by a grant from Major League Baseball. Players need to have completed at least one year of college with eligibility still remaining.
The 12 team Valley Baseball League plays a 44 game regular season schedule, playoffs and a championship series. Over the years, the Valley League has received the tag line "Gateway to the Majors" because of the high number of players who have gone on to play professional baseball...
Bing Crosby Stadium is located at 50 Stadium Drive, Front Royal, Virginia 22630. Game prices are very modest: all Valley Baseball League Ticket Prices: $5, Adults, $3 Seniors, $2 Children. Plan to take in a game soon and raise a toast to "Der Bingle" for his help in building this stadium.