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Colt League honors past champs

July 09, 2011|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com
  • Members of the 1971 Hagerstown Colt League All-Star team are introduced prior to a league playoff game Saturday at Hellane Park. The league recognized the team in honor of the 40th anniversary of its Colt World Series championship, as well as its 1967 team which also won the Colt World Series.
By Mark Keller, Sports Editor

HAGERSTOWN — They gathered behind the press box Saturday afternoon at Hellane Park in Hagerstown’s West End, under a giant oak tree that’s probably twice the size it was when they played baseball there 40 years ago.

Members of the Hagerstown Colt League’s World Series championship teams of 1967 and 1971 trickled into the park, shaking hands with one another as they arrived. They took a few minutes to mingle and catch up until they were called to the field just after 1 p.m.

“Well, let’s see if I can mosey on out here,” said a smiling Mike Brashears, a member of the 1971 team.

The two groups of All-Stars were being recognized for the 40th anniversary of the 1971 team’s World Series title. About a dozen players — now ranging in age from mid-50s to 60 — were on hand to hear their names announced and receive applause from the crowd on hand for a league playoff game.

It was a repeat of a ceremony the league performed in 2007 to honor the 40th anniversary of the 1967 team’s World Series triumph. But that didn’t make it any less special for the players who attended.

“It’s as much reminiscing about those games as it is catching up with what people are doing today or what they have done,” said Jack Latimer of the 1967 team. “It gives us a chance to renew some friendships. It was a lifelong memory for us.”

Hagerstown Colt League is one of just 10 leagues in the country to have won multiple Colt World Series championships. Several players on the 1967 and 1971 teams played in the tournament in consecutive years, as Hagerstown also reached the World Series in 1966 and 1970.

“We knew it was a big deal,” said Barry Miller, who played for the 1971 team. “There were people there asking for our autographs. We didn’t know how to deal with that. We were a bit of a ragtag bunch. Other teams flew in, had new uniforms. We came in with what we had by car.”

Steve McLucas, president of the Hagerstown Colt League, said when introducing the players that the two championship teams are the foundation on which the league was built.

For some, it’s hard to believe that 40 years have passed since their championship season.

“It means we’re getting old. I remember 40 years ago like it was yesterday,” said Miller.

This year’s All-Star team will be announced today and will soon begin its quest for another World Series title.

“Whether they win or they don’t, they should just play and have fun,” Miller said. “The big thing is the relationships they have with their teammates.”

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