Progressive Era to New Era Stafford Athletic Club (SAC)

Stafford Athletic Club (SAC)

During the 1930s and 1940s, Stafford County hadn’t money to fund a school athletics program. In 1939, attorney Frank P. Moncure (1889-1969) organized a few of his friends and bought a 15-acre parcel of the old Atchison tract on which they constructed a ball field and bleachers. This became known as the Stafford Athletic Club and was located in the level area across U. S. Route 1 from the Log Cabin Restaurant. The chief objective of the SAC was “to provide a well-rounded athletic program for the county” and the group hoped “in time to convert the land into a general athletic center suitable for all kinds of outdoor athletics.” From the beginning, the Stafford Boy Scouts were involved in this project and were “given permission to build patrol cabins on the land” (Free Lance-Star, Apr. 18, 1940). The Stafford Ruritan Club supported the Boy Scouts’ efforts to raise money to build the cabins and planners also hoped to build a swimming pool on the land, “which will in time will become an athletic center for the county” (Free Lance-Star, Apr. 10, 1940). In order to raise money to build the facility, the founders formed a corporation and sold stock for $1 per share. Frank P. Moncure was the club’s business manager; Alaric R. MacGregor, Sr. was president; Lloyd D. Thomas was “umpire-in-chief;” and Robert H. Flatford was coach. By April of 1940, the club had about sixty members (Free Lance-Star, Apr. 18, 1940).

At this point in time, baseball was almost an obsession in this region. Teams played not only on the SAC field, but also on the field in front of Stafford High School, now occupied by the Stafford County School Board offices.  In 1941, the SAC also supported a basketball team, though they seem to have played elsewhere.

The Stafford Athletic Club’s ball field was quite fine for its day and teams came from all over the region to play and compete there. Alaric R. MacGregor, Sr. volunteered the use of a large flatbed truck and drove it around the county picking up players. By the fall of 1948, the games were drawing large crowds of spectators who enjoyed the spirited team rivalries. Disputes were often settled by fistfights that might involve just a couple of players or the majority of both teams. In October of that year, some 1,200 to 1,500 baseball fans gathered at the SAC field to watch a game between Finney’s All Stars and Amidon’s All Stars. The efforts of Frank Moncure and his colleagues “put Stafford in the running for baseball honors around these parts” (Free Lance-Star, Oct. 4, 1948).

The Stafford Athletic Club baseball team 1947 posing on their field across U. S. Route 1 from the Log Cabin Restaurant

From Karen Massie Platt:  My Dad is in the back row 4th from the left. Warren (Mouse) Massie. Nicknamed because he didn’t talk much as a child. To Dad’s right (left in pic) looks like Fitzhugh Heflin (his brother-in-law). Front row kneeling 4th from the left looks like Bill Massie, my Uncle.

The Stafford Athletic Club basketball team 1941

From Kelva Heflin Alexander:  My dad, Fitzhugh Heflin kneeling second from right.
From Ginger Turnbull: That’s my Dad… Gene Turnbull … bottom row 2nd from left.

Thanks to Thomas M. Moncure, Jr. for the photographs.