Enid, Oklahoma’s Baseball Links: Late Nineteenth Century to the 21st Century (Part V)

Part IV included a recap of Raymond “Hap” Dumont’s contributions to running the National Baseball Congress (NBC) Semi-Pro Tournaments, 1935 to 1970, before passing on July 3, 1971. It featured Oklahoma City native Frank Kellert, who played semi-pro ball for Enid in summers between his 1947-49 collegiate years at Oklahoma A&M, who played in the first three College World Series, 1947-1949. Part V mentions collegiate players who played in NBC Semi-Pro Tournaments, e.g., Paul Hartzell, 1974 Boulder Collegians, plus others, such as Roger Clemens, Tony Gwynn, and Albert Pujols. It transitions to Enid hosting the National Junior College (JUCO) Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region II World Series and regional tournaments, Enid winning the 2005 American Legion title; Northern Oklahoma College-Enid Jets copping the 2019 JUCO World Series, and Enid’s 2021 undefeated (37-0) Connie Mack title.

Tom Seaver and Bob Boyd Exemplify NBC Talent (mid-1960s)

By the mid-to-late 1960s, more collegiate players participated in NBC, such as Fresno City College and University of Southern California’s (USC) Tom Seaver in 1964 and 1965. Seaver’s Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks were runner-up to the 1964 Wichita, Kansas Glassmen. Older players still made their presence felt, e.g., Bob Boyd from Potts Camp, Mississippi. Boyd, born on October 1, 1919, was named the 1965 MVP of NBC, leading Wichita’s Dreamliners to the title. He was a bus driver and a semi-pro player, and former Memphis Red Sox, Negro American League, showcasing a .373 B.A. for 1947 and 1948. With the 1951-52 and 1952-1953 Ponce Lions of Puerto Rico’s Winter League (PRWL), his .374 B.A. and 114 hits in 1951-52 led that loop. He hit 18 doubles and stole 13. At 36, Boyd helped Cuba’s Cienfuegos Elephants (40-29) win their 1955-56 Winter League crown and a February 1956 Caribbean Series (C.S.) title in Panamá. Boyd had a .312 B.A., with five homers and 42 RBIs for the Elephants (regular season), and .304 B.A., one homer, and 10 RBIs in six C.S. games, as Cienfuegos posted a first-place 5-1 record. (The author’s Fall 2024 C.S. history book has more details.)

Tom Seaver, 1964/1965 Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks. Photo credit: www.webcenterfairbanks.com.

Paul Hartzell Recalls the 1974 Semi-Pro Season with Boulder and Wichita’s NBC Event

A decade later (1974), Paul Hartzell, a Lehigh student-athlete, went 13-2 for the Boulder Collegians, a powerhouse with back-to-back NBC titles in 1966 and 1967, before claiming 1975 and 1978 crowns. On June 3, 2024, Hartzell noted that Boulder’s skipper Bauldie Moschetti “was a very good judge of talent and had a network of scouts who fed him the best players. It [Boulder] was a great place to spend the summer.” Hartzell worked at a Boulder bank during the day. Boulder won a dramatic 18-14 victory over Pueblo’s Olympia Brewers in the state semi-finals, overcoming a 10-3 deficit in the eighth. Homers by catcher Danny Goodwin and Dale Brock tied it, 10-10, before the Collegians won it. In the NBC finals versus the Goldpanners—seeking their third straight NBC title—Hartzell gave way to Jim Gideon with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth. Gideon’s first pitch resulted in a grand slam, paving the way for a Goldpanners trifecta. Table I includes the 1974 Tournament All-Star Team. Table II has Moschetti’s Collegians’ managing record, 1964-1979. Jim Dietz managed them in 1980

Hartzell shared some thoughts and interactions with his 1974 teammates and opponents:

“Rick Cerone, Seton Hall, was the catcher on the [November 1974 World Amateur Tournament] USA Team where I beat China and Nicaragua. He had the best arm as a catcher I had ever seen. A very good teammate. Steve Kemp was also on the USA team with Rick Cerone. He had the most power of anyone on that team. After I beat Nicaragua, we had to play them again the next day and Steve hit a massive home run which put us in the lead to capture the championship.”

Danny Goodwin was one of my roommates in Boulder. Dale Brock and Terry Stupy were the others. Dale could really run down anything in the outfield. Terry went to UC Irvine and was a good guy and just as good as Danny behind home plate. Rich Bradley took over defensively for Clay Westlake at first base and along with his Texas teammate Keith Moreland, gave us right handed power which was needed. Clay would then be our DH. Rich was a great fielder and covered a lot of ground.”

“Ken Landreaux became a teammate with the Angels and Twins. He came from a great program and never made mistakes in the outfield. Smart player who could cover a lot of territory and a line drive hitter to all fields. Wayne Krenchicki was a big guy who had great range and a great arm. We played together in Rochester and in Venezuela too.”

“Ron Kainer was an excellent pitcher and a fine teammate. We talked a lot about how to pitch to certain hitters and I always thought of all the guys on the team he would be the first one to play in the big leagues. I don’t know what happened but he played a season or two and then was out of the game. Great person.”

“Jim Gideon might still hold the record for the most wins in a college season and I’m pretty sure it’s 19. (Gideon was 19-2 for the 1974 Texas Longhorns, and 17-0 for the 1975 Longhorns]. He threw straight over the top with a great curve ball – two things I didn’t have or do. He was fun to watch and liked to run sprints so we often ran together. Moreland, Bradley, and Jim were all Texas guys and they knew how to play the game. 

Table I: 1974 NBC All-American Team

Rick CeroneAlaska Glacier PilotsCBruce RobinsonGoldpannersUTL
Danny GoodwinBoulder CollegiansCRon WronaGlacier PilotsUTL
Rich BradleyCollegians1B   
Mike GruendelWichita KS Coors2BDan BooneGlacier PilotsP
Sam BeatCoors3BMarty FrendGoldpannersP
Wayne KrenchickiCollegiansSSJim GideonCollegiansP
Don ReynoldsGoldpannersLFPaul HartzellCollegiansP
Ken LandreauxLiberal KS Bee JaysCFRon KainerCollegiansP
Steve KempGoldpannersRFJim DietzGoldpannersMGR
Dan MassariBee JaysDHSteve KempGoldpannersMVP

Source: NBC Baseball, 1974.

Table II: Bauldie Moschetti’s Boulder Collegians Overall Managing Record

SeasonRecordNBC FinishSeasonRecordNBC Finish
196843-6Seventh197748-82-2 W-L
197251-15FourthTotals^ 703-1884x Champs

#Jim Dietz managed the 1980 Collegians. ^Moschetti’s totals. Source: Baseball-Reference.

Who’s Who List of Collegians, Other NBC Teams, and Winter Ball Connections

A partial list of Collegians alums includes Gary Allenson, Joe Carter, Rich Dauer, Terry Francona, Tony Gwynn, Hartzell, Burt Hooton, Bob Horner, and Joe Maddon, who faced Hartzell when Lehigh played Maddon’s Lafayette team. Roger Clemens pitched for the 1982 Hutchinson (Texas) Broncs in the NBC with a 2.16 ERA. Dave Winfield starred for the 1971/1972 Goldpanners. Albert Pujols played for 1999 Hays Larks (Kansas) of the Jayhawk Collegiate League. Many of these players also played pro winter ball—Allenson (1979-1981 Santurce Crabbers); Carter (1983-84 Ponce Lions); Francona (parts of four winter seasons with Zulia Eagles in Venezuela, early-to-mid 1980s, and 1989-90 Ponce Lions); Gwynn (1982-83 Bayamón Cowboys and 1983-84 San Juan Senators); and, Hartzell (1976-77 Santurce Crabbers and 1980-81 La Guaira Sharks in Venezuela). Francona also played for Team USA in the 1979 Pan American Games hosted by San Juan. Winfield reinforced the 1973-74 Obregón Yaquis in Mexico’s Pacific (Winter) League, while Pujols—who played for the 2021-22 Escogido Lions in the Dominican Winter League—will manage the Lions in 2024-25. In the 1983-84 PRWL, Carter received hitting tips from the legendary Pancho Coímbre, ex-Ponce Lions and New York Cubans star in the 1940s. The La Guaira Sharks—Hartzell’s 1980-81 team—won the 2024 CS at Miami’s loanDepot Park. Bayamón, San Juan and Santurce are other PRWL teams.

Gwynn (L) and Roger Clemens (R), Riverfront Stadium, Wichita, Kansas. Author’s collection.

L to R: Joe Carter, Dave Winfield, Albert Pujols, Riverfront Stadium, Wichita, Kansas. Author’s collection.

David Allen Memorial Ballpark Opens in Enid, Oklahoma (1999)

By the time Albert Pujols played for the 1999 Hays Larks, a brand new stadium—seating capacity of 3,000—was unveiled in Enid. (Pujols’s only collegiate season with 1999 Maple Woods Community College in Missouri was at shortstop, with a .461 B.A. and 22 homers.)  Enid’s David Allen Memorial Ballpark was named after David Allen (1960-1995), a high school baseball star at Enid, before being paralyzed by a drunk driver in a 1978 crash. In 2005, Enid’s American Legion team played their home games at this Ballpark and won the national title—a first for Enid at this level of competition. The Ballpark’s dimensions are 328 feet down the L.F. line, 300 feet to the R.F. foul pole, and 390 feet to dead center. The stands include 359 chair-back seats acquired from the former Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium. Enid’s 25-year-old Ballpark (as of June 2024) is a public-private partnership between the non-profit ballpark association, the City of Enid, Northern Oklahoma College, and Enid Public Schools.

Enid Hosts NJCAA Division II Baseball World Series

From 2009 and through at least 2028, Enid has hosted, and will continue to host, the NJCAA Division II World Series, whose headquarters are in Charlotte, North Carolina. NJCAA officials like Enid appreciate the support to World Series teams provided by host families and Little League teams. Players, coaches, and managers stay at various hotels but attend barbecues and picnics hosted by Enid families. Conversely, participating teams invite host families to their hotels for special functions. Enid Aces Little League team, during the 2024 World Series, was affiliated with East Central (Mississippi) Community College. These Little Leaguers brought signs to the Ballpark and cheered for the Warriors, who posted a 4-2 record during the May 25-June 1, 2024 event.

            Two Enid Aces Little Leaguers welcome the East Central Warriors on May 27, 2024. Photo credit: The author.

The double-elimination World Series features 12 teams, six in each bracket. With mostly Louisiana players, LSU-Eunice Bengals won the 2024 event, eliminating St. John’s River, 6-5, in the semis and defeating Brunswick (North Carolina), 9-3, before a capacity crowd, in the finals. LSU-Eunice won a record eighth World Series in their 11 appearances. Their overall JUCO World Series record is 48-12, including a 4-1 mark in 2024. Table III lists the tournament’s winners from 2009 to 2024, when Enid hosted it.

Table III: NJCAA Division II World Series Champions, hosted by Enid, 2009-2024

TeamCollege LocationYear(s)
ParklandChampaign, IL2009
LSUEunice2010, 2012, 2015, 2018, 2021, and 2024
Western OklahomaAltus2011
Murray StateTishomingo, OK2013
MesaMesa, AZ2014
JonesEllisville, MS2016
KankakeeKankakee, IL2017
Northern OklahomaEnid, OK2019
Pearl RiverPoplarville, MS2022
HeartlandBloomington, IL2023

Note: The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19—source: 2024 World Series Program.

Players are transported to David Allen via motorcoach. Tommy Graham, bus driver for East Central Warriors, noted: “Enid’s hospitality is great—they support the World Series and visiting teams. I drove the Warriors from Memphis, Tennessee, to Enid. They got to Memphis from Decatur, Mississippi.” In 2022, the author conversed with a few players from Pearl River Community College (Mississippi), who won the event. Several moved on to play at Southeastern Conference universities. They were enthusiastic about the fan support in Enid.

Western Oklahoma State College Latino Connection in 2024 Enid Regionals

The author attended Enid’s May 9-13, 2024, Region 2 (Division II) Tournament. Rosters were set at 30, the same limit for the Division II World Series. An extra player could be on the roster due to an injury. South Arkansas Community College in Eldorado won it. Their one Puerto Rican player was Freshman backup catcher Yadi Canales. Sixty percent of Western Oklahoma State College’s roster comprised Latinos—seven from the Dominican Republic (Bonao, La Vega, Samaná, Santiago, Santo Domingo); three from P.R. (Canóvanas, Vieques, Yauco); two Colombians (Cali, Cartagena); three from Aruba, Curacao, and Panamá; others from the Bronx, Miami (Florida), and Texas. Jhamil Rivera Sr., from Canóvanas, PR, was in Enid to watch his son (Jhamil Jr.) play for Western Oklahoma. “I flew from the [Luis Muñoz Marín] International Airport in Carolina to Oklahoma City (via Dallas); rented a car; drove to Enid,” stated Jhamil Sr. “Western Oklahoma recruits many Caribbean players and Stateside Latinos.”

                        Plaque for the winning South Arkansas Community College team, May 13, 2024.     Photo credit: The author.

Post Script

Enid, Oklahoma’s Connie Mack team went 37-0 to win the U.S. title in that category, two years after Enid’s Northern Oklahoma Jets won the 2019 NJCAA Division II World Series.

Thanks to Tommy Graham, Paul Hartzell, and Jhamil Rivera Sr. Jorge Colón Delgado for the editing and photo layouts.                                                                       

Deja un comentario

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

error: Este contenido está protegido
Scroll al inicio