August 24, 2011 EditionAlso in this issue...
WR American Legion Baseball
Glenn Murphy (left), a member of the1961 Walnut Ridge American Legion State Champions, shares remembrances with Harry Truman Moore of Paragould, who served as statistician for the team. Moore prepared a booklet of news clippings and photos from the memorable season to give each team member.
TD Photo ~ John Bland
A bright point in Walnut Ridge's history was remembered here Saturday, when team members of the Walnut Ridge American Legion State Champions of 1961 gathered for a 50-year reunion.
The Walnut Ridge team, coached by the late W.R. Glenn, won four games in the state tournament, held in Helena, to win the state crown. They also won the right to represent Arkansas in the Regional tournament held at Memphis.
According to a story by Tom Manning, on the front page of the August 10, 1961, edition of The TD, "Walnut Ridge defeated four opponents in the tourney as they routed Dermott, 17-2, out-lasted Newport, 10-9, took DeJanis of North Little Rock, 12-5, to remain the only undefeated team and knocked off Helena to even an old score and clinch the title, 8-3."
"In grabbing off the title for the first time in five consecutive trips, Walnut Ridge out-hit their opponents in the four games, 45 to 32. É"
"The Legion team took 15 players to the Helena field, only seven of which are from Walnut Ridge. The rest come from the county and three from out of county.
"Walnut Ridge - Jim Corrons, Chester Berry, Mac Justus, Jackie Park, Johnny Davis, David McNutt and Dave Leonard.
"Egypt - Glenn Murphy, Joel Wagoner and Jerry Wilson.
"Stanford - Charles Bowlin and Eddie Orick.
"Black Rock - Charles Hayes.
"Biggers - Jerry Morrow.
"Lynn - George Glenn Jr."
Opponents in the state tournament included such notables as Ken Hatfield from Helena, former Razorback football player and coach, and Dick Jarboe, Walnut Ridge attorney, who then was pitcher for Dermott.
Also part of the Walnut Ridge American Legion 1961 team were Bruce Logan and Oland Goad, business managers, Harry Truman Moore, statistician, and Scott Logan, Russ Goad and Tommy Owens.
Bruce Logan, age 53, who served as business manager for the team, was stricken and died unexpectedly of a heart attack while in Helena for the state tournament. He had also served as Area Two baseball commissioner for the American Legion.
After winning the state championship, the Walnut Ridge team went to Memphis for the Regional Tournament. After clipping Monroe, La., in the semifinals of the regionals, Walnut Ridge lost to Jackson, Miss., in the finals. The Walnut Ridge team also beat a team from the Panama Canal Zone in the tournament.
At the reunion, team members recalled an earlier season game with Helena, when Walnut Ridge was leading 9-1, and Helena came back to beat the Walnut Ridge team.
Several had humorous stories, but mostly words of praise, for their former coach, W.R. Glenn. The players agreed that Glenn taught them the fundamentals of the game of baseball well.
David McNutt recalled the Walnut Ridge team being laughed at because of their uniforms. W.R. Glenn then told them, "I taught you to play like professionals, and they're (the opponent) going to play like boys."
Special guests at the reunion were Pauline (Mrs. W.R.) Glenn, and her daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Marvin Kennedy, and Oland Goad, a business manager for the team in 1961. Both Glenn and Goad were presented with baseballs autographed by the team.
The 1961 team had a record of 54 wins and 6 losses. Eight of the 1961 team would go on the play for the 1962 Walnut Ridge American Legion team that also won the state championship.
That team had a record of 60-8, and a reunion of that group is being considered for next year.
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