Way back in 1939? Oh yeah, we played American Legion baseball in 1939. I was a member of the Washington state champion Sunnyside Junior Legion baseball team.
We defeated Ballard of Seattle in a game played in Sunnyside. I recall batting lead-off that day and was thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single. Seemed like a good idea at the time! Don’t remember the score, but I think we beat Ballard twice that week.
Sunnyside is in the Yakima Valley and our team had players from Sunnyside, Mabton, Toppenish and Zillah, where I went to school. Former Spokane judge Dale Greene was a team member. He was from an area named Outlook, near Sunnyside.
We competed against Legion teams in the Yakima Valley and I also remember playing a couple of games in The Dalles, Ore. Nice trip for a team in those days.
Our uniform shirts had sponsor names on the back. Mine was emblazoned with the words “Valley Hay and Grain.” Our team had practice nearly every day and since I had about a 30-mile drive roundtrip to practice in Sunnyside the Legion would supply me with five gallons of gas each time.
Well, after winning the state title there was a Northwest four-state tournament in Pocatello, Idaho feature state champs of Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington. We boarded a train in Sunnyside one night in August and headed for Pocatello. Our opening game was against Oregon. We lost the game, but the next day we defeated the Idaho champ.
Great memories! Great times!
I always thank the American Legion for their continuing support of baseball.