Thursday, May 29, 2014

Some Key Facts

     Last Thursday it was once again time for the annual “History Days” at the Harry Grove Stadium here in Frederick. For those of you not familiar with Frederick, this is the home stadium for the Frederick Keys, a minor league baseball team for the Baltimore Orioles.  Groups of local school children come here to learn more about history at the various booths set up inside the stadium.  They also get to watch the baseball game.    

     As you may suspect, the staff here at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine is always happy to participate in this event!  You can see why in some posts about previous History Days here and here. 

The musket firing demonstration is always popular with the crowd!  This year, Tom got to do the honors.

Kyle got to throw out the first pitch, and to keep the ball!  If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that baseball was a popular game with Civil War soldiers.

     If you are wondering why Frederick’s baseball team is called the Keys, you might remember that the author of our National Anthem is Francis Scott Key.  He just happened to be born in Frederick County, and to practice law in the city of Frederick.  Maryland is full of tributes to him, including a Francis Scott Key Highway, two Francis Scott Key bridges, a Francis Scott Key shopping mall, and a Francis Scott Key High School! 

The Mount Olivet Cemetery, which is just across the street from the stadium, is the final resting place of Francis Scott Key.

     Key has somewhat of a Civil War connection as well.  His son, Philip Barton Key II, was shot and killed by Daniel Sickles, after it was learned that Key (the son) was having an affair with Sickles’ wife.  Though at the time Sickles was a U.S. Congressman, he later became a general in the Civil War.  In another interesting bit of trivia, Daniel Sickles was acquitted of this murder in the first use of the temporary insanity defense in the United States! 

Getting back to baseball…. Though we didn’t win this time, it was still a good game, AND we got to teach the fans a little more about baseball and the Civil War.  I’m sure everyone is looking forward to next year’s History Days!

1 comment:

  1. So Cool! And yes, read those Key facts.(Go Eagles!) Interesting history about his son and the temporary insanity defense.