Celebrating 71 Years of Baseball – Tidewater Summer League / Norfolk City League: 1946 – 2017
The Tidewater Summer League traces its origins back to the mid 1940′s. In the midst of WWII, a group of local baseball teams, including some Military teams representing their various branches of the service and military bases in the Tidewater area, begin playing in what became known as the Norfolk City League. The inaugural season of the Norfolk City League is listed at 1946, with the 1946 City League All Star game drawing over 3,000 fans to Norfolk’s Lakewood Park, as reported by the Viriginian.
The league has boasted of many great players and teams throughout the years, and continues to provide the Tidewater area with great baseball summer after summer. Former League Commissioner Bud Metheny led the City League for many years, with the help of great baseball men like Harry Postove, professional scout and long time league executive committee member along with countless others. Joe Hudgins served as commissioner during the 1960’s and in 1980, under the leadership of then commissioner Sully Callahan, the City League merged with the local Thoroughbred baseball program, and was renamed the Tidewater Summer League.
Leading the transition were men like Robert McKinney, Sr., Bill Kline, Maylen Parker, Bobby McKinney, Ducky Davis and Gary Wright, with the continued guidance and advice of Harry Postove, whose passion for baseball, devotion to the league and countless hours of hard work provided a great platform for the league to be able to continue its mission of providing local athletes the opportunity to play the game of baseball at a high level of competition, while providing the baseball fans of Tidewater a great league to support and enjoy. Gary Wright served as commissioner during the mid 80′s and early 90′s, with the continued help of Harry Postove, Towny Townsend, local scout Bobby McKinney, and many others. Gary Wright helped guide the league and continued its great tradition of quality baseball in the Tidewater area. In 1995, Michael Dooley became the league’s commissioner, and continues in that position at present.
During Michael Dooley’s tenure as commissioner, with the continued support of Gary Wright, Bobby McKinney, Chuck Slaughter and many others, the league has continued to focus on providing local collegiate athletes the opportunity to play in a high quality, competitive summer baseball league. In 1998, the league begin allowing only wood bats for use in games, and increased opportunities for collegiate athletes to participate. Over the past 20 plus years, Commissioner Dooley has increased the league’s focus on scouting and recruiting the area’s top prospects, player development, establishing and expanding networks to help connect players and collegiate programs, while working to provide a high quality venue for collegiate and professional scouts to evaluate players. Below you will find a partial list of the names of the many great athletes who played in our league and went on to enjoy a professional career in baseball.
In addition, during this time, the league helped to establish wood bat summer programs for our local high school student/athletes, adding a summer high school varsity wood bat league and a summer high school junior varsity summer league that plays a mid week schedule, and also adding a fall high school varsity wood bat league. Roland Wright (Western Branch HS Head Coach) was instrumental in the establishment and development of the high school divisions, and continues to serve as the commissioner of all three high school divisions.
In all, the TSL combines to field over 40 teams each year, providing over 500 local student/athletes the opportunity to compete in a high quality, local, wood bat league. We are very appreciative of the support we receive from our local colleges, high schools and cities, as well as the support of our local business community. 70 plus years of baseball in the Tidewater area and still going strong, the Tidewater Summer League is looking forward to many more great years of baseball to come.