Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, August 24, 2003, pg. 24

We continue this week with our summer theme of Albion in the 1950s. Many people have appreciated the leadership and enthusiasm of our present City Recreation Department director Rod Furguson, and the variety of activities he has offered for Albion residents this summer. This included a trip to a Detroit Tigers baseball game at the end of July. Historically, many Albionites have memories of trips with their church group or ball team or the recreation department to see the Tigers play. Baseball was once a very popular sport here, and the annual trip to see the Tigers was a highlight for any youngster growing up in Albion.

Once such trip was made on Monday, August 29, 1955 by members of Albion’s Midget Junior baseball player finalists consisting of about 25 boys, and the Junior League finalists with another 25 boys. The president of the Southeastern Michigan Gas Company, Cecil Runyan, sponsored the trip for our local youth, which included a charter bus trip to Briggs Stadium (the former name of Tiger Stadium), and lunch in Ann Arbor as the group traveled along 2-lane U.S. 12. The Tigers played the Baltimore Orioles that afternoon in a double-header. The Albion group stayed for the first game, and watched part of the second before returning. Adults attending the trip included team sponsors Ed Niecko and Duane Slaughter, and: Floyd Rogers, Harry Williams, Raymond Johnsonbaugh, Rick Watson, Robert Bushong, and Jack Bedient.

In the 1955 Midget league, Hoadleys Service Station defeated Koon’s Hardware 10-9 for the championship. The runner-up players received gold-colored baseballs. The champions were awarded trophies, and a huge cake baked by the Albion Pastry Shop. The boys on the two teams were: Hoadley Service: Bob Sharrar, Paul Foust, Ted Henderson, Gale McCullough, Sam Trippett, Dave Alexander, Jim Vournakis, Stan Herriff, Jaffe Stein, Jim Schultz, Chip Hart, Mike Broas; Koon’s Hardware: Dave Dorsey, Larry Johnsonbaugh, Dennis Williams, Terry Eldred, Bob Anderson, Gary Rampy, Craig Marsh, Den Long, Chip VanSchoick, Allen Henson, Pat Howard, and John Slaughter.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of that happy group of the Recreation Department Midget team finalist boys ready to board the bus to Detroit. The photo was taken by the bicycle racks on the east side of Washington Gardner High School by N. Huron St. In the back (left to right) are the two team sponsors who made the trip, Gerald Hoadley and Fritz Koon. Of course on the right is legendary Coach Jerry Sacharski, the inventor of Pee Wee Baseball which evolved to T-Ball as we know it today. We’ve been able to identify several boys in this photograph. Can you recognize anyone in this photo?

In this internet version, here are the identities of the boys as we know so far: Boys left to right: Unidentified, Jim Schultz, (up) Mike Broas, unidentifed partial head, large boy in front unidentified, John Slaughter, Bob Sharrar, Ted Henderson facing right, Dennis Williams, Al Henson, Stan Herriff, Gale McCullough, Bob Anderson, Larry Johnsonbaugh, Craig Marsh, Gary Rampy, Sam Trippitt, Jim Vournakis, and Dana Long. The men in back are league sponsors (L-R) Gerald Hoadley and Fritz Koon, with coach Jerry Sacharski on the right.

The Recreation Department Midget Team Finalist Boys, 1955


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