Baseball champs, football not so much

Published 4:25 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

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My gang consisted of Phil Edwards, Lee Drake, Julian Dudley, Joey Stalls, Donnie Waters, Bill and Tomp Litchfield, Bobby and Woody Hardy, Bubba Gerard and tagalong Rose Ann Robinson. They were not rival gangs even though they were the best baseball team the city of Washington had in 50-60’s. We played most our games on the lot in front of Donnie Waters’ house on 11th Street.

We lost two games in the summer of 1959 to the Wanoca boys and our rivals, the Eighth Street boys. When we played the Wanoca boys, you could see us coming as our blue and red bikes covered the road. Some had two people on them. Some were riding on the handlebars in front of our gloves placed perfectly on them. We had to furnish a baseball and the other team furnished one, so we had two baseballs in case one got knocked out of bounds. Joe took care of that because he hit more homers than anybody.

Jolley’s grocery store was our hang out and sometimes we would visit Congleton’s grocery next to our field. We visited the grocery store on our trips to other sites and they could see us coming, tater ridges and holley pants fit the bill. You recapped the game and adjustments were made at the store and drinks were plentiful! We would purchase them at the store and sometimes we had to charge them.

We weren’t so good in football. Tomp and Bill Litchfield’s side yard was our field with hedges growing on the Bonner Street side. Getting thrown into the hedges was the limit to the rules of fair play. We sometimes played our games at the cemetery in the big open field there. Sometimes we would get lucky and play in Wanoca on Kugler Field after the Pam Pack had played on Friday nights. The popcorn smelled as good on Sunday as it did on Friday night.

We weren’t as lucky in football as we were in the summer months in baseball. Without the presents of Tomp Litchfield, who went to boarding school, we were not the same. Tomp and Joe Stalls carried us. Joe was gone much of the time and would not play on Sunday’s because he played for the Pam Pack on Friday nights. Paige Davis was the fastest kid on Sunday afternoon, and he played for Wanoca.

The games went on through the summer and the fall into the winter months. We would get together and play, and I do not see that anymore. Maybe that’s happening to Washington like did in other towns. I’d open the gates to the football field and gymnasium in Williamston on Sunday afternoons so the young kids could play.

They were the best of times with the of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C. The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.