Written by John McElligott
My story is somewhat different than Charles Hall’s since Scott Rogers and I started on the Mac’s as a 9-year-old and we did not meet up with Charles until the next year when we were all 10. I was a grade ahead of Scott and we stuck out like sore thumbs as 9-year-old starters. Billy Owens and Eric Moore were pitchers and Billy was the catcher that I was to replace. I had never played catcher before…ever.
Coach Everly asked me if I could play catcher, and I said “Yes” Every team had to have two 9-year-old play and Scott and I were it. Scott was placed at third base since he had an arm that was very impressive and stayed there for 4 years. Billy Owens moved to first base since he was already 6 ft tall and was our homerun hitter that year in addition to Eric Moore. John Moore was on the team as a 10-year-old and his father Red was the assistant coach. Ray Everly was head coach for the next 3 years.
As a 9-year-old catching, Eric and Billy were a chore to say the least. Both could throw hard enough to rock me off my feet/knees. God forbid if I had to make a throw to second or third base as I am sure I missed every pick off that year.
Now a team would have to pitch a 9-year-old for a few innings every season. So, I got to pitch a few innings in one game. Not sure who coughed, but it must have been Billy Owens. Then John Moore quickly came in to replace me with his world famous “Knuckle Ball” that took me the rest of the year to catch. The batter was always hitting my glove when John pitched. And yes, he was the Best of the Best as Charles said and remained so forever it seemed.
My Brother Bruce at age 10 made the A team as left fielder and hitter deluxe for the next 3 years. He made the All-Star Team all 3 years, I think. I was a decent catcher once I learned to catch for John Moore. Once I mastered the knuckle ball nothing could ever bother me again.
Scott and I made the team again as 10-year-old…again as 3rd base and catcher. But here came Sammy Brown at shortstop and what a player he was! Pitching was John Moore and others I can’t remember. We had a big rival with the Sports and the Shriner’s and the Sheriff’s Posse which was loaded with talent. The Mac’s did well but not super well as I recall.
Now the next year the 11-year-old Scott had become a real player. I was still small but fast and still could not hit a ball worth a sh–. Scott was good but my brother Bruce, now 12 was the hitter and headed for another All-Star team. What happened that year was a guy named Charles Hall! He made my catching career even more exciting with his world-famous curve ball. This pitch took us to the moon and on to the All-Star team eventually because I was the only one who could catch and Charles’ 3-foot curve ball.
Check out Charles’ chapters above since he has better memories of that year. Suffice it to say that I became a good catcher thanks to Eric and Billy followed by John Moore and Charles Hall. My competition was Dwayne Casbeer on the Pirates