Diamond success translated to life
Being members of the 1955 Rogers High School American Legion baseball team was such a special privilege with outstanding memories.
Jim Forsyth, Rogers’ baseball coach, was also our American Legion coach.
Coach Forsyth was a special person. He set high standards for himself and for his team, standards that taught much about life as well as baseball. We were expected to dress appropriately in our uniforms, display good sportsmanship, make our best efforts in our schoolwork and present a positive image of Rogers High School students.
Our team was very successful in the summer of 1955. We competed in a very strong league of area schools. After earning the opportunity to compete for the state championship, we traveled to Yakima.
It was some experience for the Hillyard boys to compete with the “big boys” primarily from the west side of the state, but we were fortunate enough to win the state title. That put our team in a select group, being one of only four schools from Spokane to win the American Legion state title.
Gary Barnes went an incredible 14-1 on the mound. We also had four guys bat better than .400 – Ken Eilmes, Larry Brown, Jerry Lynch and Jim Slawter.
Our next step was to compete in the regional tournament in Billings, Mont. Most of us got on an airplane for the first time and away we flew to Billings.
There we competed with teams from Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. Several of those players went on to be successful in professional baseball, some going as far as the major leagues. Although we did not win the regional tournament, the experience was priceless.
Members of our team have been successful in their adult lives in a number of occupations. Much of that success was due to the teaching, coaching and expectations of Coach Forsyth.