While doing some research at the archives last week I came across some information about the 1961 Babe Ruth League. This was my first year in the league, so this was of great interest to me. I thought that I would share some information about this season and some of the players and coaches who made up the teams.
The season opened in the first week of May with a big double-header at East Thomaston Ball Park. Mr. James Boyers threw out the first pitch before the 5:00 game between the Thomaston Telephone Braves and the Phillips 66 Red Sox.
The Braves were coached by Lewis Reeves and he started Jimmy Reeves on the mound. Sandy Nelson was the catcher with Terry Hasty at 1st base, Ronnie Daniel at 2nd, Butch Dyche at 3rd, and Earl Black at shortstop. The outfield was manned by Larry Stewart, Wayne Hendricks. and Larry Britt. Charles Calhoun, Gerald Reeves, Mike Messer, Harold Tarrer, Ray Crews and Jerry Reeves made up the rest of the Braves’ roster.
The Red Sox were coached by Joe Helms and Eldo Ellerbee. Drexel Daniel started on the hill with Larry Doggett behind the plate. Reid Ingram was at 1st base, David English at 2nd, Ronnie Gilbert at 3rd, and Robert Bowles at shortstop. The outfield was made up of Bruce Williams, Robert Wilder, and Robert Foster. The rest of the Red Sox were Ray Floyd, Mike Pasley, Henry Sorrells, Ronnie Gray, James Hardeman, and Johnnie Caldwell.
The night’s second game started at 7:20 and featured The American Legion Tigers against the Hinson Auto Cubs. The Tigers were coached by Walter Royal and Russell Oglesbee. Ronald “Gramps” Royal was the starting pitcher for the Tigers with Phil Jones doing the catching. Ronnie Lowe was at 1st base, Jerry Royal at 2nd, Jackie Meeks at 3rd, and Harvey Holloway at short. Javan Collins, Mike Granger, and Ronnie Meeks made up the outfield. The other members of the Tigers were Terry Meeks, Bob Jones, Stanley Hall, Danny O’Dell, Conrad Smith, and Henry Harrell.
The Cubs were coached by Harold Boggs and he started Rocky Short on the mound with Lelious Harris as his battery mate. At 1st base was Jimmy Fowler (AHA), Richard Dean at 2nd, Edward Boggs at 3rd, and Tony Murphy at shortstop. Patrolling the outfield were Tommy Dean, Pete Baldwin, and Wayne Queen. The rest of the Cubs roster was made up of Wayne Murphy, Bobby Alexander, Albert Hinson, Tony Watts, Jimmy Haygood, and Larry Willard.
I don’t know who won these opening games but the Cubs went on to win the league’s first half title and the Tigers took the second half. These two teams then met in the championship game at East Thomaston in the season finale. The Tigers took the title with a 3-1 victory behind the three-hit hurling of Royal, who struck out 14. Murphy took the loss for the Cubs even though he allowed only four hits. I looked, but I didn’t find my name among those who had a hit. Hmm, I would have sworn that I had couple of knocks, but I guess the paper doesn’t lie!
I hope you enjoyed a look back at some youth league baseball from 53 years ago. I remember all of these guys and the good times we had playing baseball, especially at East Thomaston Ball Park. Wish it was still around!
I’ll keep searching through the old papers and will continue to share these old memories with my readers.