Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Pickers Baseball Club Reuniting

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Orange Pickers Baseball Club Reuniting

Article excerpt

The Mandarin Orange Pickers was their name, and baseball was

their game.

And long before the Jacksonville Jaguars or even the Suns,

Mandarin's residents would gather in the shade of the oak trees

next to the Mandarin Post Office and General Store Sunday

afternoons to watch them play ball.

Now former members of Mandarin's semi-professional baseball

team, which played from 1925 to 1956, will gather again Sunday

for their first reunion since the team folded. The reunion is

the brainchild of Arlington resident Fred Marjenhoff, who is

still looking for more former players to join the reunion.

For years, Marjenhoff said he has wanted to get as many of the

surviving team members together to swap stories and keep the

memory of the team alive. As a former pitcher and outfielder for

the Orange Pickers between 1945 and 1955, he said he well

remembers playing ball back when Mandarin was not a teeming

suburb, but a rural community.

"The field was surrounded with cars and any time anything good

happened to the home team, the horns would blow," he said. "It

was a regular Sunday afternoon event for the people of Mandarin

because that was before TV."

The Orange Pickers were part of the County Baseball League,

playing teams from Wesconnett, Jacksonville Beach and the

Carpenters Local 627. The team was formed by the Mandarin

Community Club in 1925, and played next to the club building at

the intersection of Mandarin and Brady roads. In the late 1940s,

the team moved to a 14-acre site that is now Alberts Field at

the corner of Orange Picker Road and Brady Road, using a surplus

Camp Blanding building as its clubhouse.

The Orange Pickers game was the favorite Sunday recreation of

hundreds of Mandarin residents, who would arrive at 2 p.m. to

sit on bleachers and eat picnic lunches off tables made from

doors, said area historian Susan Ford. …

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