From Wolfe To Ripken: Tourists' Bat Boys Found Fame

Thomas Wolfe, Roy Williams, Cal Ripken Jr., Cameron Maybin. They're some of the famous citizens who came from or lived in Asheville. And they have something else in common: Each one was a bat boy for the Asheville Tourists.

Local author Bill Ballew scouted the names for his book "A History of Professional Baseball in Asheville." His research turned up an old interview of Jack Corbett, the Tourists' player-manager who remembered the city's most famous author as a teen.

Wolfe was nominally a bat boy at Oates Park in Asheville during the 1915 season. But Corbett told the Citizen-Times in that long-ago interview that Wolfe would shag flies during batting practice, then disappear into the stands when the game started.

North Carolina's basketball coach showed his love of another sport when he was 11 years old. Williams says he helped out a friend who had to miss some games in the summer of '61.

Ripkin and his brother got the job through nepotism when they spent summers in the arly '70s with their dad, who was managing the team.