American Legion Baseball, Summer 1967

by John Tischer on September 30, 2010 · 0 comments

American Legion Baseball, 1967

American Legion Baseball, 1967

It is summer again, a wonderful time of the year and we all were looking forward to the upcoming baseball season. We had all moved up from Babe Ruth baseball and were now going to be playing American Legion baseball.

In those years, high school baseball was not as prevalent as it is today, so we were sponsored by the Ray Murphy American Legion Post Unit 114 in Fonda. We were also allowed to go out and recruit players from other communities as well to play for us, and we did usually have two to three good players from outside of Fonda who would play for us. Playing baseball at this level now was much more competitive, and those who may not have had enough talent to play alot usually didn’t come out for the team.

Our team this year consisted of: Mike Potter, Pat Murphy, John Sebben, Doug Evans, Gary Fulcher, Bob Longnecker, Dennis McManus, Terry Potter, Don Thompson, Larry Sauter, Ed Fitzgerald, and Terry Cole. We were coached by Bill Evans and Gene Kilbride.

Doug Evans and I did most of the pitching that year, with Doug having a very good year. I pitched well, but didn’t win a game. Seems we always hit and fielded the ball well when Doug pitched and I would get beat 5 to 4. It was a frustrating year for me, yet I hit well and played shortstop. I always felt we played better defensively when I was shortstop and Doug pitched, and I think the results support my thoughts.

We ended up the year winning the district title game. We beat our arch rival Estherville 6 to 3 in twelve innings. I pitched the first seven innings and allowed 3 runs, and then was relieved by Jim Junkman from Manson who joined the team late in the season for some more pitching help. I got a triple in the top of the 12th inning to drive in two runs, and then Pat Murphy got a single to drive me in. It was 3 to 1 going into the 9th inning, and Mike Potter got a triple to drive in 2 runs to tie the score. It was a very intense pressure packed game for all of us, and to win like we did said something about our team and how we never quit or gave up.

In the semi-final game we went to Aurelia to play Larchwood. We were beaten 2 to 1 in ten innings. I scored our only run. Doug Evans pitched a great game for us, however we left 10 runners on base against the Larchwood pitcher Scholton, who was an outstanding pitcher as well as he struck out 15 of us. I remember the very first inning we left the bases loaded. Terry Sauter hit a long drive to deep center field that was very close to being a home run, but it was caught. As Terry ran off the field he said to Scholton that we would be getting alot of runs tonight. Must have made him mad, we sure didn’t.

At the end of the season we had a banquet at the country club that was attended by 150 people. Doug Evans was named the ” Most Valuable Player” and I got the “Leadership” award.

I played in the Fonda Amateur golf tournament that year and made the championship round. The tournment was won by Bill Halligan from Ft. Dodge who shot 102 for 27 holes. Dean Prince from Sioux City was second at 107. Bill Evans had the best score for the members, as he shot 112. I shot 119. I played horribly in the last round. It was my first time playing in the championship round and I almost missed the ball on my drive on the first hole. I can only imagine what the pressure would be to play in the Ryder Cup or US Open. Bill Evans also won the club championship that year, shooting 72 to beat Mark Kelley in a playoff. I finished 8th shooting a 79.

The summer of 1967 was great. For good music, we would go to the Cobblestone on Sunday nights for the dances. We could see the Rumbles, The Fabulous Flippers, and all of the good groups who played music. Soon it was time to get back to school.

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