It's just a jar of dirt. Right?
After all, most anyone can walk out onto the infield of Paul Richards Park in Waxahachie, grab a handful of that grainy tan sand and place it into a pocket, cup, baggie or a cleaned out baby food jar.
It's just sand and Richards Park is just another baseball field, right?
And that was largely the reaction of the eight Waxahachie seniors Tuesday night as RBI Club president Barry Navarro handed each one a clear jar of Richards Park sand following a 19-5 victory against South Grand Prairie.
The victory clinched the first-ever 6A playoff berth for the Tribe and helped Peyton Graham, Jordan Fay, Hayden Blevins, Garrett Milliken, Adam Carrizales, Bryson Campbell, Austin Gallagher and Sage Hampton forever leave their mark on the program.
Four of the eight held the jar up at arm's length as they peered into the bottom at its contents. Two others held the container waist high and read the Waxahachie baseball cursive W on one side before rolling it around in their hands to the opposite facing that dons "Richards Park 2019."
The other two looked directly at Navarro, slightly confused, as he stated, "It's something that you might not appreciate right now, but in a few years, you will."
He's right. Because Richards Park is not any old baseball field, nor is the sand that now sits on desks, mantles or inside nightstand drawers of former Indians just dirt. The sand, park and program have been touched by more than a fair share of baseball history since the Indians ball club first organized in 1909.
It's fairly well documented that Richards Park, formerly Jungle Park and briefly Woodman Park, played host to several Major League Baseball clubs during various spring trainings.
As legend has it, baseball legend Ty Cobb even rounded its bases between 1916-18. The center fielder, who won the batting title in 1917 and 1918 with a .383 and .382 batting average, respectively, was a member of the Detroit Tigers that trained in Waxahachie from 1916-18.
The Cincinnati Reds trained there prior to the 1919 season that ended with the club winning the World Series.
The Chicago White Sox then camped in Waxahachie during the spring of 1921 too, just a couple years removed from the scandalous "Black Sox" year of 1919.
The professional baseball history at the park did not end in 1921, either.
There was also a period during the Great Depression and WWII where Richards Park was nothing more than an overgrown patch of land. Yet, it did not take long for it to regain its majestic nature.
It was during that span that Jungle Park turned to Woodman Park, as it was used by the local Woodmen of the World chapter. That all changed for good a couple years later.
Paul Richards, the park's namesake, won a World Series with the Tigers in 1945, only to later return home one year later and lead a charge to rebuild the park for a minor league offshoot in 1947.
Richards was, of course, a member of the storied Waxahachie baseball team that won 65 consecutive games and three state championships between 1922-25. His biography, "The Wizard of Waxahachie: Paul Richards and The End of Baseball as We Knew It," should probably be a textbook administered to any eighth-grader with aspirations of playing on the field that now bears his name.
There have since been several dozen Waxahachie ballplayers drafted to or signed by MLB clubs and a few dozen more who have garnered All-American recognition at the collegiate level.
According to Baseball Reference, Archie Wise (1932), Bob Vines (1924-25), Paul Richards (1932-46), George Edmondson (1922-24), Roy Easterwood (1944) and Jimmy Adair (1931) were all born-and-raised in Waxahachie before getting a call to the big leagues in some capacity.
There have been a couple hundred fabled home runs sent into the trees beyond the green sheet metal fence and at least that many fish washed up from Waxahachie Creek and into right field.
It's a place where boys of summer have become men of Waxahachie, even despite a few heartbreaking losses and some of the largest mosquitos this side of the Mason-Dixon. The park has bred future politicians, city and community leaders, doctors, surgeons, future coaches, fathers and even a newspaper person or two.
Richards Park has long fostered a bond between generations that will not soon be lost or broken. For any high school ballplayer who's ever slid into an Indians jersey, it's home. To some, it's baseball heaven.
All of which makes those jars of dirt distributed Tuesday night so special.
The tradition is relatively new for the 110-year-old program.
The first jar of Richards Park infield sand was gathered 13 years ago by Steve Wallace, whose son, Jeremey, was a senior in the class of 2006.
According to Navarro, Wallace gathered up the earth in empty baby food jars and painted a green W on each one before handing it out to the class.
"And we've been doing it ever since," added Navarro with a wry smile. "I know a few people who have theirs sitting on their desk or on a mantle because you can't play at a better place. It's just our small contribution for their contribution to the program."
Sage Hampton, the Indians starting third baseman and a three-year letterman, said Richards Park is "like no other park that I've ever played at — the trees, everything. It's just amazing."
"[This program] means a lot and it has taught me a lot since my freshman year," Hampton added. "It has taught me how to be a better teammate and to just love the guys that I play with. It has been a really fun ride and I'm kind of sad to see it ending. It has been something great to be a part of."
Hampton will also return to the postseason for the third time as a member of the varsity squad next week. The furthest they've advanced over the past two seasons is to the 5A regional quarterfinals in 2017, which ended in a three-game loss against Cleburne.
"It feels good to get back to the playoffs and it feels good to do it for the first time in 6A," Hampton said. "They doubted us and said we weren't supposed to make it, but we're in it now and going to try and make a run."
Fellow senior Garrett Milliken returned to the program for his final high school season after focusing on track and football last year.
He said, "it's just been great to be around my brothers, having this experience with them and cheering them on.
"I knew that I wanted to come back and help the team out in any way that I could, so since I'm pretty fast, I just want to do whatever I can when I'm given an opportunity to help the team win."
Following the playoff-clinching win, Waxahachie head baseball coach Tracy Wood said the senior class is "an awesome group, period."
"All of the roles they play and there is not one single non-team guy," he added. "They are as big of a team group as we have had in a long time. They create out dugout atmosphere and they do a great job."
After field prep and hugs with moms, the Indians began to make their way into the room adjoining the varsity locker room for a postgame speech from Wood. And, as they did, one thing sat on the top shelf of each of the eight green lockers occupied by the seniors.
A jar of history.
"They'll be able to tell and show their kids and grandkids that they played on this historic site," Navarro said. "[...] It's bittersweet watching these guys play what may be their last game at Richards Park. The victory is great and, of course, so is getting into the playoffs, but this could be the last time that they touch this field. We hope this little bit of history helps to remind them of what this field means to so many."