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Walter Lefty Hamilton Baseball Collection

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OCPL Archives and Special Collections

Walter "Lefty" Hamilton Baseball Collection, 1909-1942

About this collection:

➤Walter Ray “Lefty” Hamilton was born on July 9, 1895 to Robert F. and Minnie Bell (Porter) Hamilton in Frazeysburg, Ohio. The family later moved to Wheeling, WV and lived on Wheeling Island. As a teenager, Hamilton played baseball and attended Wheeling High School and Linsly Military Institute. He signed with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics and attended spring training with the team before being farmed out to the New York State League. Later that season he underwent an appendectomy and had to return home to recover. When the United States joined World War I, Hamilton enlisted and was soon on his way to Camp Lee, Virginia. He was in France with the American Expeditionary Force when the war ended on November 11, 1918.

After the war, Hamilton played baseball around the Ohio Valley on several teams, including the Bauers’ ball club, the Cambridge Red Sox and the Eastern Ohio League’s Tuscoras. After playing baseball for several decades, Hamilton took to coaching, and when the American Legion Athletic Club formed the Wheeling Post 1’s first baseball team in 1938 he led the team to their first state championship.

Hamilton was also known in the community for operating a long time pharmacy on Wheeling Island. In 1919, he went into business with C.G. Buchanan, owner of the Garden Pharmacy at 2 South Penn St. The business later became known as Hamilton Island Pharmacy. On October 7, 1919 Hamilton married Amy Northwood of Indiana, PA. They had a daughter, Mildred (b. 1921) and son, Robert Ray (b. 1934).

Hamilton died on November 11, 1979 at the Veteran’s Administration Center in Dayton, Ohio. At the time of his death, he was married to Gladys Backus Hamilton. A baseball park in Williamson, WV is named “Lefty Hamilton Park” in his honor.

The collection consists primarily of two scrapbooks documenting the baseball career of Walter “Lefty” Hamilton. According to Hamilton’s son, Ray, the scrapbooks were maintained by Lefty’s mother, Minnie Bell Hamilton. The scrapbooks contain a few photographs but mostly include newspaper clippings about Hamilton’s baseball games. The majority of the clippings document his time with the Bauers’ Baseball Club, the Cambridge Red Sox and the Eastern Ohio League’s Tuscoras. In addition to the scrapbooks, the collection includes several loose photographs of Hamilton and two small notebooks containing handwritten reminiscences of Wheeling Island and downtown businesses, restaurants and notable people.

➤ Interested in this material? Please use our "Ask an Archivist Form" or call 304-232-0244.


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