In the early days of America’s favorite pastime, colleges and universities played ball without athletic divisions. Beloit went up against the likes of Northwestern and the University of Wisconsin as well as smaller neighbors like Lake Forest. Crowds in the hundreds packed into fields, paying a quarter to see the games. Students from Beloit Academy, a preparatory school that funneled students into Beloit College and other Midwestern universities through 1910, played alongside college men on Beloit’s Gold team.
One of the greats from the Academy was outfielder and power hitter Clarence “Ginger” Beaumont, who played for semi-pro teams in the area before hitting for the Gold. He became the first batter in the first official World Series in 1903, a game pitched by none other than Boston legend Denton “Cy” Young. He maintained a .311 career batting average and had a reputation for speed and power. He later played for the Boston Doves (now the Atlanta Braves) and the Chicago Cubs, pinch-hitting in the 1910 World Series after struggling with a knee injury. Beaumont played one last year in the minors before retiring.
Pitcher Merle “Doc” Adkins (1903) started pitching in the majors for the Boston Somersets (later the Red Sox) in the American League after graduating from Beloit. He was quickly brought down to the minors after a rough start and bounced from the Western League’s Milwaukee Creams and back up to the east’s New York Highlanders (now the Yankees) before finding a longer stay with the Baltimore Orioles (before they were a major league team). Adkins went to medical school at Johns Hopkins and became a physician, adopting the name Doc while still playing baseball. He moved to North Carolina and coached baseball for Trinity College, later known as Duke University. He retired from baseball in 1914 and continued his practice for another 20 years.