In The Press Box with Jake Penland


A South Carolinian who has been acquainted with American Legion Junior baseball during many of the 21 years of its operation tells the column that the program is now “in the worst mess it has been in since it started 21 years ago.” He points out that last year players were drawn from zones and, except for an occasional border-line case, there was little question as to which post a boy would play for.

A new national ruling, which went into effect this year, enables a post to draw from neighboring municipalities so long as the area is adjacent and does not exceed a high school population total of 2,000. For instance, the Camden Legion post, in acquiring its team, could recruit players at Blaney and come on over to Dentsville, on the outskirts of Columbia. Some posts could probably start near the middle of the state and go all the way to Charleston recruiting players, so long as the sections they worked did no exceed a high school student population of 2,000.

This observer reports that “Legion post are out bidding for the kids, and making them inducements. There is bickering and confusion all over the state and frankly, I think it will continue until the national office of the Legion allows the states to set up their own boundaries. Last year’s zoning plan worked out all right. This year’s setup is causing untold confusion, and it is setting the Legion Junior baseball program back considerably.”

Here in Columbia the confusion and the bickering have been manifested since early summer and there is probably more to come. The worst thing about it is that the kids, who are supposed to be profiting by this program, are caught in the middle of controversies engaged in by their elders. The Legion Junior baseball program has been a fine thing for Columbia, South Carolina and the nation in the past. If the plan of operation for 1948 in vague and productive of undesirable confusion, the plan should be changed so as to insure future success of a meritorious program.


This column suggested some time ago that a golf clinic for the boys and girls of Columbia be started this summer and that the two competent professionals, Walter Reynolds of Columbia Country club and Melvin Hemphill of Forest Lake, serve as instructors. We approached the two and were promised immediate and full co-operation. We are now trying to secure a suitable central location for the first classes, and have settled on Thursday, June 24, as the date for the first class.

The plan is to hold the first classes at a place like, say the University of South Carolina’s Melton field. Basic instruction can be given there and members of the class will have opportunity to hit a few balls right from the start. Later on the class will be divided into two groups and taken to the Columbia and Forest Lake courses for more instruction, and maybe even some practice rounds. If you are a boy or girl between the ages of ten and 19 and would like to be acquainted with the fame that keeps your father away from home so much, make a date to attend the first class June 24. More on that later.


Our friend Kenneth Kreps, the Columbia barrister, observes that the five-man city council has had all its recent session to end 3 to 2, which he described as a good ball game any way you look at it. He made another cute observation, but warned: “Print it and I’ll sue you to the Savannah River.” . . . Two members of the Carolina football team who were behind in their studies came out all right for the semester and will be able to shine with this year’s team. They are Bishop Strickland, the halfback star from Mullins, and Bill Estes, the tackle from Rock Hill. Estes, however, missed out on most of the fall semester because of an illness, and he will have to go to summer school. . . . Strange things happen to fishermen: One in New Brunswick, Canada, was crossing a trout steam when he fell flat on his face and came up with a sunken wallet containing ten dollars. Another angler in New Hampshire came close to being hauled from a boat when a large owl suddenly snatched, in the air, a large streamer fly he had cast and started back into the woods with it. The bewildered fisherman finally recovered the lure and – and his wits . . . . J. E. Hutto of Columbia writes in from Columbus, Georgia, to observe that “Gee Walker is doing a swell job as manager of the Columbia Reds, the team is doing its best and now it appears that it is up to the Columbia fans to back their team. Having seen several games in Columbus and Columbia this season, I believe that if the Columbia fans would root for their team like the Cardinal fans are doing, the all star game would be played in Columbia. I’ve seen these Cardinal fans go into action when all seemed lost and win several games with that old rally.” . . . A citizen of Memphis, Tennessee, had never been fishing, so he borrowed a boat, a hook and a line. His first catch was a 43-pound catfish. . . . And speaking of sportsmanship, we hope that the good Christian who mangled a fender of our automobile while parking across the street from University high school Wednesday morning and then rode away quickly will make his peace with th’ Lawd before showing up in our neighborhood again.

June 11, 1948  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 12

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