Page 40 - Salem Magazine Spring 2014
P. 40

Baseball in Salem
Remembering a Fallen Pirate Alfredo Edmead’s memory lives on thanks to a local sports fan.
By Mike Stevens
   As you’ve read in the previous pages, nothing short of a World War or the collapse of a league has stopped baseball in Salem. In fact, not even the death of a star player could derail it.
hitting nearly .330 for the year and 119 games into the season he had amazingly driven in 59 runs and stolen exactly 59 bases.
Forty years ago this season, on the hallowed grounds of old Municipal Field, a promising 18-year- old prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization died right on the field.
Some scouts in the Pirates’ organization reportedly believed, and even said publicly, that Edmead was a better prospect than the great Roberto Clemente. In fact, the Pirates thought so much of Edmead that they gave him the largest bonus ever paid to a player from the Dominican Republic when they signed him in the
Alfredo Edmead, who was one of 11 children in his
large Dominican Republic family, left his homeland in early 1974 and headed to Salem to chase his dream of playing professional baseball. In his first season as a pro, he not only learned to speak English, but also how to crush a baseball.
Alfredo Edmead
was considered
to be better than Roberto Clemente.
winter of 1973.
But ironically, like Clemente, he would leave this
 Thanks in large part to Edmead’s talents, the
Salem Pirates won both halves of the Carolina league season in dominating fashion in 1974. As the prized rookie approached the end of August, his offensive statistics were staggering for a seasoned veteran, much less a first-year player. Edmead was
earth way too soon. On August 22, 1974, a fly ball filled the night sky along the right field area of the outfield that borders Florida Street. As Edmead rushed in to make a diving catch, second baseman Pablo Cruz was running
SPRING 2014 |
out trying to do the same from his infield position at second base. As they converged on the ball, Edmead’s head crashed into one of Cruz’s knees and he was knocked unconscious.
Newspaper accounts of the incident said that Edmead died

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