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home : sports : a look back September 14, 2014

4/14/2014 2:00:00 AM
Field of Dreams - a look at county baseball
How many County baseball players started out just like this—in the back yard with Dad and older brother and moved on to play on local high school teams? Bill Boone is in the catchers gear.
How many County baseball players started out just like this—in the back yard with Dad and older brother and moved on to play on local high school teams? Bill Boone is in the catchers gear.
Bill Boone is a 1956 graduate of Ladoga High School and played baseball and basketball at Wabash College. He is an historian of Montgomery County sports and will contribute a column each Monday focused on looking back at what sports in the county once were.

By Bill Boone
Historical Columnist

Basketball was not the only game in the county in the early days. Before consolidation, most schools ran track in the spring and played baseball in the summer and fall. There were some outstanding baseball players in the county in those days, so I thought during the summer issues I would write about some of the players and some of the fields that they played baseball on and ran track on.

Most of the County schools were located at the edge of the little towns or in the middle. Their location dictated whether they had an adequate amount of space for a baseball field or had to be creative with ground rules. Most of the school buildings were built before baseball, basketball or track became popular, so the location of the school building had a lot to do with what their athletic fields looked like. Several of the early schools even had football in the late 1800s or early 1900s. So the baseball fields and football fields were probably in the same area. I have asked former athletes of the county schools to reflect on their days playing baseball and running track in the days before consolidation.

Obviously after consolidation, North Montgomery and Southmont went out into the country and built large schools and first class outdoor facilities. You can drive from Linden down SR 231 to SR 234 and see the beautiful facilities that each school has. You can also take a little trip down SR 47 and see the Crawfordsville High School facility. However, in the early days, it was a different story. We didn't have the great facilities; all we had was the passion to play and the love for the game. This summer-long series is a description of some of our "Fields of Dreams."

As you can tell from the pictures, Dad always wanted me to be a catcher. It was a good choice for a kid who loved baseball, but couldn't judge a fly ball and was afraid of a grounder. No grounders and very few fly balls for the catcher. Oh, well, next week we will get on to the Fields of Dreams. If any readers have memories of county baseball or pictures of baseball players or teams, contact The Paper of Montgomery County, or e-mail me at Hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane.

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