Benton Harbor’s Bearded Cultists Were Old Baseball’s Answer to the Harlem Globetrotters

The House of David had many of the characteristics of a typical cult: a charismatic leader, apocalyptic beliefs, communal living, and strict prohibitions on sex, alcohol, and cutting one’s hair.

But they also allowed women members to vote and hold office, ran an amusement park, sent traveling bands on the vaudeville circuit — and formed a sensational baseball team.

With their long hair and beards, the House of David players drew massive crowds as they barnstormed around the country. 

Read more

Grand Rapids Chicks in ‘A League of Their Own’

Rosemary Stevenson, a member of a nearly extinct group, stands in the middle of the Lee High School gym speaking into a microphone to a crowd of no more then twenty. The small audience, holding pictures of Stevenson along with bats and balls signed by the seventy- five year-old baseball player, hangs on her every word. Flanking her on both sides are two women, Marilyn Jenkins and Doris Cook, adding in bits to her story and then taking their own turn to illuminate the fans.

Read more