Aug. 1952 – Softball
To the Editor:
Following the November 1950 dissolution of the Northern League (summer collegiate) St. Johnsbury Tri-County Yankees baseball club (“Tri-County Yankees Call Quits, Board Of Directors Vote To Relinquish Baseball Franchise,” The Caledonian-Record, Fri. Nov. 17, 1950, at p. 5), men’s recreational league softball assumed a prominence as a staple of the summer amateur athletics calendar in the Scale City of the early 1950s.
A notably lopsided, high-scoring game occurred on Friday night Aug. 1, 1952 at Legion Field when the Spanish Villa Restaurant team overwhelmed the Purina Mills softballers, 35-1 (“Softball League Villa 35, Purina 1,” The Caledonian-Record, Sat. Aug. 2, 1952, at p. 5). The paper of record noted that in “[s]etting a new all-time high in five departments, the Villa scored 16 runs in the first inning and then went on from there to chalk up a 35-1 win which sent them into a three-way tie for first place along with Murphy Motors and the VFW […] Here are the records established in last night’s debacle: Total of 35 runs – 30 base hits – 53 times at bat – 16 runs in one inning – 20 batters going to the plate in one inning.” (Ibid.)
Among the softball and St. Johnsbury/Lyndonville luminaries playing that evening for Spanish Villa were restaurant proprietor and 2nd baseman Sam Handy, who went 5 for 6, scoring 5 runs; third baseman Bob Gervais, who went 4 for 6, scoring 3 runs; shortstop John Carroll, who likewise went 4 for 6, scoring 3 runs; left fielder Carl Wright, who went 3 for 6, scoring 4 runs; catcher Bob Pellerin, who went 5 for 6, scoring 5 runs; center fielder Andy Cowens, who went 2 for 5, scoring 5 runs; and winning pitcher Charlie Handy, who tossed a four-hitter and contributed at the plate as well by going 2 for 6 and scoring 2 runs.
A memorable Friday evening softball run-scoring avalanche by Spanish Villa on the Legion Field sod seventy summers ago in St. Johnsbury.
Christopher E. Ryan
Simi Valley, Calif.