Please excuse me while I break one of the rules of journalism and insert myself into the story.
My father, Mert Waller, was a longtime teacher, coach and athletic director at Oak Harbor High School. As a side gig, he would occasionally write sports stories for the Whidbey News-Times. One of his beats was covering Oak Harbor youth baseball in the 1950s and 1960s and writing weekly summaries of the local contests.
Over the years he accumulated a smattering of scorebooks from those years. Like me, he never threw anything away. When he passed, the books were handed off to me.
The books included some from Little League (players 10-12 years old), Mustang (13-14), Babe Ruth (13-15) and American Legion (15-18).
Recently I was cleaning out a storage area and stumbled upon the books. As I glanced through them, and being the astute journalist I am, I realized others — local old-timers like me, former players and their relatives or fans of sports history — might be curious about their contents.
So, let’s literally dust off the old books, jump in Professor Peabody’s Wayback Machine and take a look at the world of Oak Harbor youth baseball from the time of button-up Levis, Howdy Doody and the Space Race.
Below is part one of this journey into the past; we will wrap up the trip down memory lane in next Saturday’s Whidbey News-Times.
(In some cases, the lineups in the scorebooks did not include first names. Also the specific dates of some games were not included.)
Here are some of the highlights:
July 15, 1952
The Yankees won by only two runs, 12-10, despite outhitting the Cubs 13-4. D. Myers led the winners with four hits, including three doubles. Long slapped four singles and scored four runs. The Cubs were able to keep pace by receiving 10 walks (three to R. McKenzie) and taking advantage of 10 Yankee errors.
July 24, 1952
Myers had four hits again, including two doubles, and teamed with M. Zylstra to pitch a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts in the Yankees’ 17-2 win over the Giants.
July 30, 1952
J. Hallberg had four hits and two doubles, and J. Abrahamse and Roger Christensen each doubled in the Giants’ 14-13 win over the Cubs. J. Taylor doubled twice for the Cubs.
July 31, 1952
The Yankees scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to earn a 12-12 tie with the Dodgers. Geska and Myers doubled twice for the Yankees and Dave Neinhuis had three hits for the Dodgers.
May 20, 1953
J. Abrahamse hit a home run to highlight a 14-run fourth inning in the Giants’ 16-2 win over the Yankees. The Giants had only four hits but were aided by 14 walks.
May 21, 1953
Jerry Story hit two doubles and a single and Tommy Richardson had two singles and a double to help the Cubs tie the Dodgers 10-10. D. Abrahamse had three hits, including a double, and E. Beeksma hit a single and triple for the Dodgers.
June 5, 1962
John Lengyel hit two home runs and Mike Waller and Tim Rowand one each as the Dodgers beat the Twins 19-1.
June 11, 1962
The Tigers’ Gary Barnes shut out the Angels 10-0 with 11 strikeouts.
June 18, 1962
Waller hit two grand slams and a two-run shot to power the Dodgers to an 18-9 win over the Angels. Mike Garner and John Lengyel also homered for the Dodgers. Larry Dykers homered twice for the Angels, one coming in the Angels’ 7-run first inning. Dave Urquhart also homered in the first.
June 20, 1962
Mike Lang pitched a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts and rapped four hits, including a home run and double, to lead the Cubs to an 18-2 win over the Yankees. Gene Gidley added three hits and Dale Butler doubled twice. Mike Dailey homered for the Yanks.
July 3, 1962
Waller clubbed three home runs, Lengyel and Garner one each, and Tim Rowand added four hits as the Dodgers thumped the Yankees 21-6.
July 5, 1962
Waller hit two more home runs but the Dodgers mustered only one other hit and lost 5-4 to the Cubs. The Cubs’ Gene Pasek hit a two-run home run in the sixth to send the game to extra innings, then Butler, who had two doubles, scored the game winning run on an error in the seventh.
July 12, 1962
The Tigers beat the Red Sox 8-7 in a wild 11-inning game.
After the Red Sox scored three runs in the top of the 11th, the Tigers countered with four in the bottom half, getting the game winner when Bill Thompson was hit by a pitch to force in the deciding run.
July 27, 1962
In the all-star tournament, Oak Harbor defeated Coupeville 20-5 and Burlington 8-3.
The first two Oak Harbor batters, Ron Cornelison and Lang, hit home runs in the Coupeville game. Waller and Mike Garner also homered for Oak Harbor. Coupeville scored four of its five runs in the third inning with the help of singles by Billy Baas, Bob Bailey, Raymond Vaughn, Tim Nelson and Russ Bailey.
Against Burlington, Oak Harbor scored six runs in the first inning, spurred by a home run by Tim Rowand. Waller and Gidley also homered for the winners.
July 13, 1964
Steve Lange clubbed three home runs and a single as the Angels slugged 24 hits in a 21-5 win over the Cubs. Bill Chambers added four hits, and Jeff Brown had two singles and a home run. Steffen hit two doubles for the Cubs.
July 8, 1965
The Twins scored two runs on errors off the bats of Otha Wilkerson and Mark Malsom in the bottom of the sixth inning to upset the Angels 4-3.
Tom Cooper had a single, double and home run for the Angels; Jeff Brown homered.
July 14, 1965
Someone named Jim Waller hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Dodgers defeated the Angels 6-5 in a game that decided the league championship.
The Angels jumped to a 5-0 with the help of a home run from Cooper. Consecutive singles by Waller, Russ Lett, Ken Pevoto and John Kjargaard highlighted a 4-run fifth inning for the Dodgers.
In the bottom of the sixth, Mike White and Mark Lett doubled. Another error allowed White to score and Lett to move to third. From there, Lett scored on Waller’s fly to wrap up the pennant.
June 5, 1964
Rudy Materne had four hits and Mike Lang pitched a three-hitter in the Cardinals’ 16-0 win over the Braves.
June 9, 1964
Behind four hits from John Lengyel and three each from Mike Waller, David Michaud and Lewis, the Pirates walloped the Cardinals 33-0
June 10, 1964
Lengyel singled and scored five times as the Pirates beat the Cardinals 28-1. Wayne Lewis added two doubles and a triple.
June 22, 1964
Braves’ pitcher Danny McLean opened the game with 11 consecutive strikeouts and finished with 18 and a one-hitter in a 15-1 win over the White Sox. Lang led the offense with a single, double and home run; Gary Barnes had a single and home run; and Materne singled four times.
June 23, 1964
Lengyel, Waller, Gene Montoya and Michaud all homered, and Ted Mathias hit two triples as the Pirates thumped the Cardinals 20-1 in four innings.
July 23, 1964
The Pirates defeated the Braves 13-9 in a playoff for the league championship. Larry Dykers and Lewis each hit home runs in the Pirates’ five-run first inning. Lengyel added a double and triple; Waller, Gene Montoya and Bob Chambers all doubled. Mike Lang homered for the Braves.
June 2, 1965
Houston hit a home run and three singles and scored four runs in the Cardinals’ 21-7 win over the White Sox. Harry Ferrier had a homer and two base hits for the Sox.
June 3, 1965
The Braves hit for the cycle (Dale Butler, home run; Jim Eychaner, triple; Ken VanderStoep, double; Jay Long, single) and scored four runs in the sixth inning to come from behind to defeat the Pirates 7-6.
June 4, 1965
Dennis Kjargaard fired a no-hitter and collected three singles as his Braves rolled to an 18-0 win over the White Sox. Butler added two triples and a double and Rollie Fortin had two singles and a double for the winners.
June 7, 1965
Lange pitched an 11-strikeout two-hitter and collected two singles and a double at the plate in the Cardinals’ 7-2 win over the Braves.
June 15, 1965
Jim Steele slugged two home runs and a single and Jim Allen had four base hits in the Cardinals’ 16-11 win over the Braves. Kjargaard and Mike Fleharty each had a double and two singles for the Braves.
June 21, 1965
The Braves out-lasted the White Sox 22-20. Long and Fortin homered for the winners; Gene Gidley went deep for the Sox.
June 30, 1965
The Pirates defeated the Cardinals 23-3 behind a home run, double and two singles by Miller and a home run, double and single from Chambers.
July 1, 1965
Bill Wallace hit four home runs, and the White Sox needed them all in a 16-15 win over the Braves. John Brady also homered for the Sox; John Holmes homered for the Braves and singled three times.
July 7, 1965
McCartney hit two home runs and singled, but his Cardinals lost 11-10 when the Braves scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. Fortin hit a home run, double and two singles for the winners.
July 12, 1965
McCartney added two more home runs in the Cardinals’ 6-0 win over the White Sox. Allen helped out with two doubles and a single.
July 15, 1965
The Cardinals pounded out 21 hits in a 21-5 win over the White Sox. McCartney had four and Robert Houston, Bob Yates and Steele three each.
June 18 & 30, 1959
The Pirates nipped the White Sox 5-4 in a 12-inning game that started June 18 and was suspended after eight innings.
The White Sox scored three times in the first inning but didn’t score again until the top of the 12th when they got three of their six hits off Dick Faris, who went the distance and struck out 21.
The Pirates won it with two runs in the bottom of the 12th on two errors, a walk and a hit by Gordon Booth. Monty Rollag, who had a triple and two singles, knocked in the winning run when the centerfielder misplayed his fly ball.
The Braves’ Scott Doman pitched a one-hitter and struck out 11 but lost 1-0 to the Pirates. Faris doubled and scored the game’s only run for the Pirates. Dave Fakkema pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts for the win.
June 25, 1959
Terry Sanneback hit a two-run, walk-off home run to lift the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the White Sox. Mike Smith hit a double and picked up the pitching win with 14 Ks.
July 7, 1959
Smith hit two triples and tossed a three-hitter in the Cardinals’ 16-5 win over the White Sox.
The Cardinals scored 13 runs on only two hits to beat the Pirates 13-3. The Cards received 12 walks and five errors. Ron Baker and Faris tripled for the Pirates.
Ole Carlson hit a triple and home run and drove in three runs in the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over the White Sox. Dennis Maylor hit a three-run homer for the Sox.
July 21, 1959
Larry Judson hit a home run and triple and Faris tripled and singled in the Pirates’ 7-1 win over the White Sox.
Tom Weindl collected four hits in the Braves’ 8-7 win over the Pirates. Dave Fakkema singled three times for the Pirates.
The season concluded with a best-of-three series between the champion Cardinals and an all-star team of players from the other three clubs.
The Cardinals won the opener 7-6 and then lost 17-2 and 5-3.
The Cardinals scored five times in the bottom of the seventh to pull off a miraculous comeback in game one. Walks to Mickey Johnson, Bob Kline, Dick Hall, George Gamble and Carlson, followed by a double by Steve Ellis accounted for the first four runs. An error off the bat of Bob Pickrell plated the winning run.
Fakkema hit a home run and the all-stars took advantage of 15 walks and four hit batters to roll to the lopsided win in the second game. Wendl and Gary Eerkes had two hits for the winners.
Terry Sannebeck led the Cardinals with three singles.
The all-stars won the third game in extra innings, scoring twice in the eighth thanks to a walk and two errors, to take the series. Fakkema slugged a single and double, and Dennis Maylor and Scott Doman combined for a two-hitter, allowing no earned runs and striking out 14 Cardinals.
Hitting Leaders in ’59
The Cardinals’ Carlson led the league in hitting (22-43, .512). Rounding out the top 10 were Mike Smith (Cardinals; 27-57, .474), Eerkes (White Sox; 20-56, 357), Weindl (Braves, 17-49, .347), Faris (Pirates; 18-54, .333), Fakkema (Pirates; 18-54, .333), Stan Beeksma (White Sox; 13-54, .289), Ellis (Cardinals; 13-47, .277), Maylor (White Sox; 14-51, .275) and Dale Birge (White Sox; 14-52, .269).
June 6, 1960
The White Sox Dick Arias hit a single with two outs in the final inning to break up a combined no-hitter by the Cardinals’ Mike Smith and Steve Moshier. The Cards won 17-1.
June 7, 1960
Scott Doman pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and hit a triple in the Braves’ 3-0 win over the Pirates.
June 23, 1960
Mike Smith pitched a no-hitter but lost to the Pirates 1-0. D. Smith led off bottom of the first with a walk and eventually scored the game’s only run on an error.
Despite scoring 10 runs in the first inning, the White Sox lost 14-11 to the Cardinals. Rick Nunn had two hits and Steve Weatherby a triple for the White Sox. Eddie Morrow collected a single and double for the Cards.