|Baltimore’s Presstman Cardinals (Photo / Presstman Cardinals)|
The Cardinals were led by manager Reggie Smith, whose father started the team
Were it not for the Cardinals’ appearance, Baltimore would have been without a representative in the historic competition for the second straight year. The tournament dates back to 1945, and a Baltimore team has captured the championship 29 times. Smith’s teams often competed to represent the city but until this year fell short. The door opened when Youse’s Maryland Orioles, a perennial champion, moved to U18 status and were ineligible for the tournament.
The city of Johnstown and AAABA tournament were happy to see a Baltimore team back in competition. “We were so grateful. One of the Johnstown fans said, ‘We’re going to root for you until you play the host team.’ It just makes you feel at home,” Smith told the city’s Tribune-Democrat.
The team prepared by playing Baltimore City League games as well as games in Maryland’s Prince George’s County. The Cardinals went 1-2, notching a comeback victory over Cleveland before being eliminated by perennial tournament power, New Orleans.
It was the first time to the tournament for all of the members of Smith’s young club. “With this spotlight on us, these guys will take the experience back to the young kids and next year, those young kids will look at the caliber of players and hopefully they can mimic these players the way I remember mimicking the Negro league players and Leone’s when I was a kid back in the day,” Smith said.
|The 2015 Presstman Cardinals (Photo / Presstman Cardinals)|