Summer Baseball, 1965

by John Tischer on August 21, 2010 · 0 comments

Summer Babe Ruth baseball started out with the hope that we would have a good season. We lost Doug Evans and Larry King. However, John Leo Hartnett would be joining the team. John Leo was huge compared to the rest of us. He was probably already 6’3″ by the time he was a freshman in high school. He could throw very hard, his only problem was sometimes he didn’t know where it was going. I can tell you he was legendary in Little League baseball and you never dug in on John Leo. John Leo would go on to play at the University of Iowa, where he played on Iowa’s conference championship team that made the College World Series, and I believe threw a no-hitter against Arizona while in college.

Since Doug Evans was no longer playing with us, we had a new coach in Lee Hurlburt. Lee was a teacher at the public school and also the girl’s basketball coach, and for the most part did a good job with the team.

We played very well during the year, with John Leo and myself doing most of the pitching duties. I remember we played Ida Grove, and John Leo threw a one hitter at them. We defeated them 13 to 4. I pitched most of the important games, and had a very good season with a strike out ratio of almost 2 strike outs per inning. Our season was a good one—John Leo Hartnett, Pat Murphy, Terry Cole and myself made the Northern League All Star team.

We played our prelimary tournament games in Sac City and won the championship easily. Pat Murphy played very well and I pitched in one of the games as well. It was now time to go to Boone and play for the State Babe Ruth championship.

Going to play in Boone was truly a wonderful experience. You did not stay in some fancy hotel, people in the community would bring players into their homes, and you and one of your teammates stayed with a local family. You were fed, taken to the ball park, had a good bed to sleep in and stayed with really nice people. It was a wonderful experience.

We won our first game handily, and then it came time for the second game. The game started in the late afternoon and was very very hot. John Leo was pitching for us, and while doing fine, he was very wild on this day, walking as many as he would strike out. Every inning I was up and getting warmed up ready to come in, and somehow John Leo would get out of the inning. One particular inning was very exciting, as John Leo walked the bases loaded and up I got again to get ready to come in. It just so happens that I was ready and I remember the manager saying that if John Leo doesn’t get this guy out to be ready to come in. So I am standing and watching the activities. The batter hit a line drive shot right back to John Leo who caught it, the runners were going as they were sure it was a hit, he threw the ball to second for out number two and the shortstop then threw it to first for a triple play. It was amazing how quickly it happened, and it just took the life out of the other team. The manager had seen enough, I came in the next inning and pitched three innings of no hit, no run ball, and we did win the game. Now onto the championship game.

Since I had pitched three innings the day before, I would not be pitching unless absolutely necessary. I had the type of arm that did not recover quickly, and I got sore and needed a couple of days rest before I could go again. It was an overcast rainy day and we were playing a team out of Des Moines. They got off to a fast start and before you know it we were behind ten to nothing and that is how the game ended. The pitcher from Des Moines threw a no hitter against us. No trip to Minnesota to play in the National tournament, no trophy, no plaque, you just went home.

Though none of the players were aware of it, the parents had made arrangements to have a parade for us when we got back to Sac City. We got to ride on the fire trucks and they gave us a warm welcome. We went from being very sad from losing to very happy to be a part of this and being shown how much the people enjoyed our team and how hard we played. I remember sitting with Pat Murphy on the fire truck and thinking back over how much fun we had at the tournament, and we just couldn’t get over that people really did care enough to give us this parade.

Baseball was over for the summer, yet there were still fun things to do in Fonda.

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