KEIZER – To commemorate the first eclipse delay in baseball history, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes buried a time capsule Thursday at Volcanoes Stadium exactly one month after the historic event.
No word yet on ticket sales for the unveiling on June 25, 2169, which coincides with the date of the next solar eclipse passing over the stadium.
“The price is to be determined,” Volcanoes co-owner Jerry Walker said with a laugh.
Actually, the time capsule will be first opened June 25, 2069 and then resealed and buried for its final opening 100 years later.
Why the early unveiling?
“Some of the people here today can return on June 25, 2069. That’s only 52 years,” Walker said.
20-year old Lydia Busch of Keizer, who attended the time capsule burial with her parents, hasn’t marked the date yet on her calendar, but she’s not ruling it out.
“Possibly,” Busch said with a smile. “I really don’t know what I’m gonna be doing (in 52 years). I’m starting school next week."
A sellout crowd of 5,297 fans representing 34 states and 11 countries attended the Eclipse Game at Volcanoes Stadium on Aug. 21. Seven minor league baseball teams hosted eclipse games, but the Path of Totality arrived at Volcanoes Stadium first, giving the franchise a place in baseball history.
Walker received a call Thursday from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, asking for Eclipse Game jerseys and eclipse sunglasses to put on display.
The first pitch baseball from the Eclipse Game is already on display at Cooperstown, and it will make its way back to the Volcanoes for the organization to display. A second baseball used when play resumed after the eclipse delay will be kept at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Fans and area businesses donated an assortment of items for the time capsule, from Eclipse Game souvenirs, to a Sports Illustrated photo of the first Eclipse Game, to Statesman Journal newspapers from the day of and day after the first total solar eclipse to sweep over the United States since 1918.
Popular Volcanoes fixture Roofman, who frequently visits the stadium in the summer and throws souvenirs to fans from atop the roof, donated an autographed Roofman baseball card and Roofman bobblehead.
The 5-½ inch by 22 inch stainless steel cylinder that was buried on the concourse behind home plate weighs just over eight pounds, and the black marble marker covering the capsule weighs approximately 250 pounds.
Keizer mayor Cathy Clark, who spoke at Thursday’s ceremony, is confident that baseball will be played at Volcanoes Stadium for at least the first time capsule unveiling and hopefully beyond. The Volcanoes, who are the Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants in the Northwest League, arrived here in 1997.
“There’s something very Americana about this game,” Clark said. “I think it’s something that we’re gonna continue to embrace. I’d be surprised if we didn’t have baseball here in 2069.”