On opening day of the Philadelphia Athletics 1908 season, in a game against the New York Yankees, a rookie pitcher took the mound. He was a graduate of the University of Virginia and a native of Loudoun County. In fact, he was born right here at Oatlands in 1879. Conrad Powell “Nick” Carter was the son of George Carter II and Kate Powell, grandson of George Carter and descended from Robert “King” Carter.
Nick Carter pursued his career in baseball, beginning in the minor leagues in 1903. He played for the Syracuse Stars until 1907, when the legendary Connie Mack drafted him. He had been considered the best pitcher of the 1907 season in the New York State league and Connie Mack started him on opening day, April 14, 1908.
Nick Carter started just 5 big league games. His last Major League appearance was on June 8, 1908. Nick returned to the minor leagues, playing for the Kansas City Blues for the rest of the 1908 season and continuing with them through 1909. He finished his baseball career in 1913 with the Newport News Shipbuilders of the Virginia League.
We don’t know much else about Nick Carter, but it’s clear he had the baseball bug. He spent 10 years pursuing his dream, pitching for professional baseball teams. Opening day each season links past, present, and future players and fans in the wonderful continuity of the game.
This year, Oatlands will honor the history of the game with Vintage Base Ball day on July 29. There will be a game played by the rules of the 1860s in our field. Keep watching for details and we hope we’ll see you!
Play (and watch!) ball!