Cape’s a Swinging Town for Baseball

All the big hoopla about the blown perfect game brought my attention to a bunch of baseball and softball pictures I debated not running because the negatives were in lousy shape.

Then, I figured if an umpire can make a mistake, then maybe I’ll make one by letting you see my bad pix.

Playing baseball next to gravestones

This must have been taken at Notre Dame High School near the New Lorimier Cemetery. Because of the unusual location of the game, I left it in even though it is scratched all to pieces.

They take the game seriously

You’d think the World Series was on the line from the way some of these guys are giving their all. I learned later that shooting batters swinging away at the plate is the photographic equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. Real sports photographers would rather get photos of plays on base.

The only problem was that most of the games I shot were at night, so I had to shoot something fairly close. I’d love to have been able to sit back with a long lens and wait for something great to happen, but (a) I didn’t have a long lens and (b) most of those fields were DARK, way too dark to shoot available light with the film available.

That’s why there are lots of swinging shots

Sometimes I’d get lucky

I loved it when something happened in front of me, but I usually had to go for the safe shot so I could get to another game or home to process my film.

Little League was scary

Before I became a regular newspaper photographer covering games for $5 a shot, I would go to little league games and shoot kids batting. I’d process the film and go back to the next game and try to sell prints to the parents. I ran across some of those left-over prints the other day and I think they were priced at less than a buck for a 3-1/2 x 5-inch print. I made enough to cover my expenses and a little more.

Because of my equipment limitations, I would crouch down about 12 feet from the home plate to catch the kids swinging. I wasn’t much afraid of a foul ball, because they couldn’t hit THAT hard. The biggest problem was that the kids had a hard time hanging onto the bats. I needed protective gear more than the players.

I’ll run some of those shots later.

Gallery of baseball photos

Here’s a collection of baseball and softball photos from various leagues, teams and games. I can guess where some of them were played, but everything else about them is lost in the fog. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the sides of the photo to move through the gallery.

Coach Lou Muegge’s Character Builder

Fred Lynch’s f/8 and Be There blog in The Southeast Missourian featured a Frony photo of Central High School’s legendary coach Lou Muegge with his 1954 state champ basketball team behind him.

It was accompanied by a March 24, 1954, story about Muegge moving from the athletic field to teaching. If you’re too young to know who Lou Muegge Field was named after, this will tell you. If you are old enough to have been part of his era, then this will bring back memories.

Character Builder

When I was at the new Central High School last fall, I saw that his famed Character Builder was immortalized in the trophy case.

To be honest, I’m glad to see that it was retired. I think there are better ways to motivate students and build character than beating them.

I Was a Lousy Date

She also serves who only sits and waits

(With apologies to English poet John Milton, who actually wrote, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”) That often mis-quoted line came to me when I saw this frame from the December 28, 1966 College High Tournament that pitted the Central High School Tigers against Delta .

The cute girl sitting at the left of the scorers table is Lila Perry (Class of 66). This week marks the 45th year since we started dating. This is also her birthday week, which prompted Bill Hopkins to write on her Facebook wall, “I know that being married to a man several decades older than you can be stressful at times.” Bill has, obviously honed his survival skills over the years.

She’s a treasure. Our dates weren’t like most other couple’s dates. Going to a sporting event meant she was  sitting in the stands or bleachers while I ran up and down the sidelines shooting pictures. While our classmates were paired up admiring the full moon from Cape Rock, we were in my basement darkroom processing film for the next day’s paper. I guess the orangish-yellowish safelight looked sort of like a full moon.

Instead of music, we listened to the police radio in my 1959 Buick LaSabre. Many an evening’s plans would get derailed when an interesting call came across the speaker. If you follow the link above, you’ll read of a few more of my transgressions.

It’s a wonder we were ever together long enough to have two great kids and a grandson. It’s amazing how much we all look alike.

The basketball bleacher shot was a good reminder to me of what a trooper she’s been to put up with my crazy lifestyle all these years.

Central High vs. Delta

The taller, six-seeded Tigers won 64-57 over the 11th-seeded Delta team, but The Missourian’s account the next day made it sound like a squeaker.

Delta played an aggressive game until the final minutes, when the Tigers bulled their way to layups. The Tigers went into the lead 56-66 as Terry Field connected with a free throw with 2:30 left.

From that point on, it was easy layups as Delta tried to get the ball and left the tall Tigers unguarded under the nets.

Both teams hit on 25 field goals and the Tigers made 14 of 24 charity tosses for the margin of victory. Delta made 7 of 15 and had only three chances from the free throw line in the last half. The lead changed hands 16 times and was tied nine times as the teams struggled.

Larry Johnson led the scoring with 23 points for the Tigers. Carl Eakins paced the Bobcats with 24 points and took game honors.

Cape Central High School Scoring

Field 12

Johnson 23

Blackiston 19

Kirkpatrick 6

Proctor 4

FG – 25

FT – 14 of 24

F – 11

Delta High School Scoring

Kight 7

Eakins 24

Below 8

Burnett 6

Cook 12

FG – 25

Ft – 7 of 12

F – 17

Gallery of photos from Cape Central vs. Delta

Click on any picture to make it larger, then click on the left or right size to move through the images.

Spring Athletes-The Unsung Heroes

Track 3-28-67 14

I’ve always felt sorry for the students who play spring sports: golf, track and field, baseball, tennis and the like.

They’re lucky if a handful of spectators show up to cheer them on. Most of their events take place after the yearbooks have gone to press, so they don’t get any recognition there until the next book. If they are seniors, then they probably don’t even make THAT book.

According to the note on the outside of the negative sleeve, I shot these on March 28, 1967. That was after I had graduated, so they must have been taken for The Missourian. Beyond the date, I have no other information about the pictures. It’s up to you folks to leave comments helping to identify these hard-working students.

Gallery of photos

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the picture to move through the gallery.