I was told of the many nice compliments the Beardstown Baseball Association officials received on their conduct of the State Little League tournament that was played in Beardstown. That along with the compliments about the great Little League baseball diamond should make them all proud. It is a sincere thank you to all the volunteers that helped to make the tournament such a success.
It was thirty-five years ago that I was so pleased when I received a telephone call asking if we could host a couple of Pony League World Series games. It seemed that Springfield was to be the host and didn’t have enough lighted ball diamonds so games were sent to Decatur and Beardstown.
We were to be host of the team from Maui, Hawaii, and they were housed at the Park Hotel. Since none of the players had ever been in a hotel, they thought the Park House was great. To entertain the team during the hours that they weren’t playing, we invited them to visit our country home. It was after their team returned to their homes in Maui that we received letters of thank you from some of the players and from some of their parents and their coach.
It was seven or nine years later, in 1982, Christine and I were given an all expense holiday which included a week in Maui. While there, in Maui, I telephoned the coach of the Maui World Series team and asked him to have lunch with me. I asked if we could go to a truly Hawaiian restaurant, and not to one that tourists would go to. That we did, and it was so Hawaiian that all of the diners were eating with chopsticks. I really tried to master the chop sticks, but then I finally asked if I could have a fork. I did eat the appetizer of raw fish, but remember I sure didn’t ask for more.
It was great to be visiting with the coach, a friend I met ten years earlier. The coach was able to tell about each of the boys, who was on that Maui World Series team. Who had jobs, who had gone to college, and if they were married or in the service.
I remember a few years later when Terry Buhlig was manager of The Lakers, a girls fast pitch softball team of girls 16-18. They were a traveling team, with Beardstown being their home field. They were good in that they had more than one good pitcher; you really need three to go far in the World Series. They won the State tournament and then won the Mid-West tournament, beating the Indiana state champions at Rock Falls, and were entered in the World Series that was played in Kalamazoo, Michigan that year.
We spent a fun week in Kalamazoo as Beardstown was in a round robin tournament, beating a team from Hawaii. Some of the girls on that team were Stephanie Dour, Abby Hardwick Chris Little and Lauren Tracy. Other teams came from Canada, Indianapolis, Maryland and then only one team from a small town–Beardstown.
It has been 60 years since Little League started in Beardstown and it has resulted in a lot of boys and girls of all ages playing on teams that reached the state tournament level.
There have been many who have gone on to play for their college teams, and Brian Dour, who after being a top pitcher for Bradley University and the Missouri Valley Conference, was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. His career was cut short after he had the Tommy John surgery and it wasn’t successful.
There will be the day when we will have another former Little Leaguer make it to the majors