The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


May 17, 2013

Tradition one constant in baseball

ENID, Okla. — Let’s hope tonight’s alumni game between the 1999-2004 and 2005-09 American Legion teams is a sign of things to come for Enid’s Connie Mack baseball program.

The biggest strength of Enid’s summer baseball is tradition that goes back to at least four generations.

That’s why it was good to see Enid’s teams playing under the banner of the Les Beckham League in honor of the man who was cut from the 1937 Enid American Legion team, but probably did more for the program than anyone in his 44-year tenure as the Argonne Post No. 4 baseball chairman’s job.

But it goes beyond that.

Enid should feel fortunate it still has a team it can follow over the summer — one might have preferred American Legion over Connie Mack — but there’s still not a better place to spend a summer night than David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

Instead of being named for a corporation — it’s in memory of a former Enid High and Legion player who left us too soon and who loved baseball. David Allen was one of three brothers to have played Legion ball here.

Brother acts have been quite common in summer baseball. Some families like the Flemings (Gary and Judy) might have spent more time at a ballpark than their own homes in the summer.

You start feeling old when you’re covering the sons of players you covered (Ron and Joe Black), but that’s good. It’s a sign baseball is being passed on through generations. Ron’s father, Don, was a good guy to sit with. The coverage really became personal when you’re covering the sons (Justin Funk and Nick Rountree) of two of your bosses. Fortunately, they were both good players.

You appreciated parents like Virgil Rieger, who once went down to the dugout to tell then coach Duane Moulton to take his son out of a zone playoff game after he threw 140 pitches.

Enid’s longevity should be appreciated. Think of the old rivals that aren’t around anymore like Family Medical Clinic, Medley Insurance, Northwest Optimist, Jeffries Truckers and Reynolds Lettering and its colorful coach Ted Reynolds.

We missed the rivalry Enid had with Bob Ward’s Woodward Travelers. Sometimes it could get a little personal — emotions were stirred up a few times.

The games between Enid and the Travelers in zone tournaments would become legendary, such as the time future major leaguers Ray Hayward of Enid and Don Carman of the Travelers hooked up. Ks (strikeouts) littered the record book. The Travelers produced other major leaguers such as Monty Fariss, Ryan Minor and Damon Minor and Wichita State’s Mike McDonald to name a few.

Bryan Painter, who covered the Legion teams while a summer intern, would get as fired up about those games as he would when his school (Oklahoma State University) would face arch-rival OU.

We miss Hayward hitting the ball in the trees at Phillips and then striking out 14.

We miss the old organ playing before a game at Phillips.

We miss public address announcer Delson Fitzgerald giving out quarters to kids who ran down foul balls. The chase for those resembled some of those at a professional ballpark.

We miss Beckham giving us heck about something. We miss seeing Gladys Winters sitting out doing her knitting, reading a book and rooting for the Majors at the same time. We still like seeing Sammy Roberts umpire a game behind the plate.

Let’s hope players like Hayward, Tim Murphy, Bill Bunch, Jim Hepburn and Brent Campbell among others are recognized. Let’s hope 20 years from now, today’s players will be coming back for alumni games.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.쇓

Text Only
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • OU logo color.jpg Probe into incident involving Mixon could last into next week

    The Norman Police investigation into the incident at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe in which Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is an “involved party” could continue into next week.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos

Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at