Enid, the city of champions. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

The American Legion World Series championship won Tuesday by the Enid Majors American Legion baseball team is the latest but far from the first national championship earned by an Enid team.

Prior to Tuesday's victory, Enid's most recent national title came in 2002 when basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar coached the Oklahoma Storm to the United States Basketball League championship.

The Storm defeated the Kansas Cagerz 122-109 to win the crown. But that wasn't Enid's first national basketball championship. That came in 1975.

Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was formed in 1972 because the NCAA wouldn't accept women's teams at that time.

AIAW was the pioneering organization for women's college athletics and helped drive women's basketball to the forefront of world athletics, and even into the Olympics.

For its first two years, AIAW lumped all its teams in one division, but in 1974 it was decided to create a small college basketball tournament. The first event was held in the spring of 1975.

Twelve teams participated in the tournament, including the Phillips University Fillies.

The Fillies opened the tournament, held at the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo, with a 54-37 win over California Polytechnic. Karen Cannon led coach Lou Amaya's team in scoring with 14 points.

Phillips' second game was a 99-48 rout over Northern Kentucky. Cannon scored 38 points to lead the Fillies in that game.

In the third round, Phillips pounded Emporia (Kan.) State 80-58. PU's Glenda Cameron led all scorers in that game with 17.

In the championship game, Cannon fouled out with seven minutes left in the game but still managed to lead all scorers with 19 points as Phillips beat Talladega (Ala.) College 60-49.

Enid Morning News apparently was not overly impressed by the Fillies' feat, as Choctaw's victory over Woodward in the 3A girls' state basketball tournament was the lead story, with the Fillies' national championship buried farther down on the page.

The National Baseball Congress tournament, established in 1931 in Wichita, Kan., by sporting goods salesman Hap Dumont, has seen four local champions.

This is a tournament that has featured a number of players who would go on to greatness in the major leagues. Among the members of NBC Tournament Hall of Fame are New York Mets' great Tom Seaver; former New York Yankees stars like Ralph Houk, Dave Winfield, Billy Martin, Graig Nettles and Ron Guidry; former home run king Mark McGwire; and the man closest to breaking Hank Aaron's career home run record, Barry Bonds.



The national semi-pro baseball tournament was only 6 years old when Eason Oilers from Enid claimed the championship. Claude Gilchrist of the Oilers was the most valuable player in that year's tournament.

In 1940, the Champlin Refiners of Enid won the NBC title, with Vance Cauble of the Refiners winning the MVP prize.

The next year, with World War II looming on the horizon, the Refiners won for a second straight year. This time, infielder Red Barkley was the most valuable player. Barkley, of Childress, Texas, went on to play three seasons in the major leagues, with the St. Louis Browns, Boston Bees and Brooklyn Dodgers.

The team from Enid Army Air Field won the 1945 NBC Tournament championship. Pitcher Cot Deal of the Enid squad was the 1945 MVP. Deal, from Arapaho, had a four-year big league career with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. After his playing career ended, Deal coached for several major league teams.

So the 2005 Legion team's triumph is not Enid's first national championship, and it likely won't be the last, either.



Mullin is senior writer of the News -- Eagle.



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