THE PRESS BOX FOR APRIL 10
Looking forward to the Matt Boggs Wooden Bat Classic, I think it’s great Magnolia, Frontier, Paden City and Tyler Consolidated get a chance to go at each other. This year’s tournament is up for grabs, looks like any one of the four teams could take home the championship. I believe this year’s event is going to come down to who has the best pitching and commits the least amount of errors. It should provide a good preview of what’s to come in the sectional. Thanks to the Boggs family for all they do for youth sports and high school sports; they are huge supporters. A great way to say thank you is to visit their restaurant in Middlebourne; it’s one of my favorite stops out that way. Not only great food, but a great atmosphere as well.
I can’t remember when aluminum bats became the standard, but back in my day they were all wooden, and I don’t remember breaking to many. We never had to purchase our own bats back then, and almost everyone used the same bat. I’m talking about little league, not high school. Paden City never had a high school team when I was in school.
Anyway, I had a nice Wilson glove and Wilson bat, plus a Wilson ball. My grandfather bought them for me for my birthday in 1960.
I still have the bat and glove. The glove had great webbing and is still intact. Some say it’s from lack of use. I don’t know if they still do it or not, but we used to oil the gloves up; it softened the leather and prolonged the condition of the glove.
Anyway, I had a nice Wilson glove and a fine Louisville Slugger Ted Williams bat made from ash wood, plus a Wilson ball, my grandfather bought them for me for my birthday in 1960. I still have the bat and glove. The glove had great webbing and is still in tack, some say it’s from lack of use. I don’t know if they still do it or not, but we used to oil the gloves up, it softened the leather and prolonged the condition of the glove.
My brother had a Little League Spalding Honus Wagner bat that was made of Maple. I have it also. All the equipment came from the Rogus Sports Shop in Cleveland, Ohio. My Grandpa used to put pine tar on the handles; he also taught us how to clean them regularly and said if we took care of them, they would last a lifetime.
He said Pete Rose used to put motor oil on his bats and hang them out to dry which, preserved the wood.
While thinking of the upcoming Wooden Bat Tournament, it brought to mind the time George Brett hit the game “Losing” home run. It was called the Pine Tar Incident or Pine Tar Game.
It happened in an American League game between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees, on July 24, 1983 at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
All over the news was the story of George Brett’s game-losing home run. And his initial charge at the umpire who made the call. Brett had to be restrained. With the Royals trailing 4-3 in the top half of the ninth inning, and two outs, Brett hit a two-run home run to give his team the lead.
Yankee Manager Billy Martin had noticed a large amount of pine tar on Brett’s bat, and requested the umpires inspect his bat. The umpires ruled that the amount of pine tar on the bat exceeded the amount allowed by rule. They then called him out, ending the inning and giving the Yankees the win.
After a protest by the Royals, American League president Lee MacPhail upheld their protest and ordered the game to be restarted from the point of Brett’s home run. The game was restarted on August 18, with the Royals officially winning 5-4 after scoring a run in the ninth.
I loved playing the game and still love it. I got a chance to go watch the Mountaineers play Pitt last week. It was a 6:30 start and we were running late, but as luck would have it so was the game, 8:45 and still in the fifth inning – ended up lasting nearly four and a half hours. Mountaineers went up 3-1, but in the sixth Pitt got a three-run shot over the left field fence to tie things up. West Virginia came back, however, and got the win, 5-4.
Another thing about wooden bats is the danger incurred when they break. We were always told to try and keep from hitting on the trademark, which is considered the weakest point of the bat.
I wood like to see more wooden bats used; for one reason, parents would save a lot of money. I looked at a nice aluminum bat at Dick’s Sport shop the other day and couldn’t believe it was $700. I think I would probably sell my Ted Williams and Honus Wagner for that and maybe throw in the Wilson glove and my later years’ Spalding glove. I bought two Spalding gloves back in the early 80s from Eddie Amos who had the sport shop on Route 2 in Paden City. They were somewhere around $100 dollars apiece back then.
It’s not cheap to get kids into sports, but it’s a lot cheaper than bailing them out of jail.
The top five local sports performances of the week:
1. Paden City’s Matt Saxon tosses a complete game no-hit shutout against Bridgeport, Ohio on Saturday.
2. Gage Huffman winning both games of the double header against Calhoun County on Saturday.
3. Spencer Corley getting his second 6’4″ high jump on Saturday at Morgantown.
4. Tyler Consolidated 4×110 shuttle hurdle team with a winning time of 1:03.80 at Morgantown on Saturday.
5. The Silver Knights also got first and second in the 3200 with sophomores James Streets and Hadyn Brown coming in one and two with an 11:19.30 and a 12:43.70 at the WTTL on Wednesday.