~ Portions published with permission from ShenandoahNewz.com
On Sunday, the Valley Baseball League (VBL) installed its fifth class of Hall of Fame inductees at the 2021 VBL All-Star game in Harrisonburg. Among the 2021 class of inductees voted on by a seven-member committee over a two-year span, stands a Shenandoah ballplayer who made a name for himself with the local railroad team.
Jesse David Moneymaker played for the Shenandoah Shops (Shenandoah Division of Norfolk & Western) baseball club from 1926 to 1928. In 1928, he played for the Shenandoah Shops/Railroaders, who competed in the Valley Baseball League Championship. Moneymaker pitched Game 4 of the championship series that year and led Shenandoah to their first VBL Championship (his third).
Moneymaker was born on Oct. 28, 1901 in Augusta County, Virginia, and passed away in Seaford, Del. on Nov. 27, 1971.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 VBL season was cancelled, along with the induction of a 2020 Hall of Fame class. Therefore, the 2021 class grew to 11 inductees, including: Tom Browning, Curt Dudley, Steve Finley, Brett Gardner, Rufus Heatwole, Charlie Jones, Eric Kratz, Keith Lupton, Jesse Moneymaker, Scott Musa and Reggie Sanders.
A description of Moneymaker on the VBL website states: “Historical accounts call him the best pitcher in the first two decades of the Valley League… playing career spanned 15 years between the years of 1921 and 1938…pitched mostly for Harrisonburg and Shenandoah… helped Harrisonburg win two titles and Shenandoah one… a left-hander who befuddled hitters with what he called his ‘squirrel ball’ … was a consistent winner almost to the age of 40… also played in pro ball for three years…managed a semi-pro team in 1948 and 1949.”
Players nominated for their VBL achievements must have made significant contributions to the League as members of an organization and have been out of the league a minimum of five years. Nominees must have demonstrated good citizenship. Nominees may be considered for their VBL records, service provided to the league, or for their national exposure which brought recognition to the league.
Hall of Fame bios for other inductees are featured on the VBL website at valleyleaguebaseball.com The VBL has erected a permanent shrine for recognizing current and future inductees at Rebel Park in New Market. For a full list of VBL Hall of Fame inductees since its inception visit:
To learn more about Jesse Moneymaker and the history of the Valley Baseball League here in the Shenandoah Valley, read the book titled “The Valley Baseball League … A History of Baseball in the Shenandoah Valley” written by Chaz Weaver.
Visit the link below to learn about other Shenandoah baseball players inducted into the Valley Baseball League’s Hall of Fame: Larry Dofflemyer, Jim Kite, Lorenzo Bundy and Wayne Comer