#Shortstops: Total eclipse of the park

Part of the SHORT STOPS series
Written by: Ivy Houde

The path of totality during the 2017 solar eclipse spanned the length of the continental United States and was 100 miles wide.

It was also home to four minor league baseball stadiums with regularly scheduled games.

On Aug. 21, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, the San Francisco Giants Class A short season affiliate, witnessed the first-ever ‘Eclipse Delay’ in baseball history. Due to their unique positioning within the path of totality, the Volcanoes were the first of four teams to celebrate the eclipse during the day. At approximately 10:17 a.m. PDT, the Volcanoes experienced a 10-minute delay during the first inning as the skies moved toward complete darkness. Fans and players alike donned special NASA-approved eclipse viewing glasses in order to view the moment directly.

It wouldn’t be a minor league baseball game if there wasn’t a promotion that accompanied the historic event. Salem-Keizer hosted a three day “Eclipsefest” featuring fireworks, free beer tastings and commemorative glasses to accompany the three-game series against the Hillsboro Hops. Several NASA representatives were also on-site to educate the public on the eclipse.

The Volcanoes also unveiled special uniforms for the occasion. The black jerseys feature the moon travelling across five stages of the sun with the fully eclipsed sun taking the center near the Volcanoes logo.

Several artifacts from this game have since been donated to the Museum’s collection in Cooperstown, including those special NASA-approved eclipse glasses and the jersey of pitcher Alejandro De La Rosa. Additionally, the baseball thrown by Hops’ pitcher Tyler Badamo as the “second” first pitch following the eclipse delay is housed in our collection.

The power of the eclipse proved to not be on the side of Salem-Keizer as the Hops went on to win 9-5 in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,297. The Oregon event was followed by three teams along the path of totality including the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Nashville Sounds and Columbia Fireflies.

Ivy Houde was a 2018 membership intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

Part of the SHORT STOPS series