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Country baseball teams in Southwest Colorado in 1930-1950

A group of vintage baseball equipment, bats, gloves, baseballs on wooden background

Communities: Beulah, Lewis, Yellow Jacket, Goodman Point, Blue Door, Cahone, Rico, Cortez, Pleasant View and Old Ackmen.

During the summer and fall, the games were played on Sunday. Each area had their ball diamonds and sometimes they need to be moved if the farmer needed that ground for some reason. The men who played ball and their families were responsible for keeping up the ball diamonds. It wasn’t unusual to see an old tractor pulling a harrow, or large block of wood attached by chain to the tractor, a leveler or something to smooth out the field in preparation of the next game.

The games were played on Sunday- there was a big picnic and the entire family came to see their family “Play Ball”. If they needed to attend church it was almost always just Sunday school so the mothers and children could attend as usually the men were busy in the fields every day of the week. Once in a while games were held for the children if the potluck or ballgame might be late. These were usually sack runs, three- legged races, nail driving contests and other games that could be stopped on a minute’s notice. During recess at the various schools there was always a practice session for baseball going on – both girls and boys.

Rural communities of valley now have a baseball league.

(The Montezuma Valley Journal – May 10, 1934)

Managers of the baseball league in the various communities of Montezuma Valley got together in Cortez last Saturday and drew up plans for a lively baseball league tournament. The number of teams entered show the intense interest that prevails throughout the western end of the San Juan Basin for this favorite American sport. The team and their managers are as follows, together with a schedule of some of the games.

Ackmen: Ben Williford

Arriola: S. R. Boyd

Beulah: F. L. Royce

Lakeview: Tom Irving

Lewis: Charles Porter

McPhee: H. D. Meadows

Mildred: H. C. Pyatt

Stoner: Norris Roubidoux

Rico: Paul Studebaker

Yellow Jacket: Edwin Wilson

Following is a schedule of games for the season beginning May 13th: Ackmen at Lewis; Lakeview at Arriola; McPhee at Beulah; Stoner at Rico; Yellow Jacket at Mildred.

May 20: Arriola at Ackmen; Beulah at Lakeview; Rico at McPhee; Yellow Jacket at Stoner; Lewis at Mildred.

May 27: Ackmen at Beulah; Lakeview at Rico; McPhee at Yellow Jacket; Stoner at Beulah and Mildred at Rico. The teams played weekly throughout June, July, and August.

The teams consisted of Nine Players plus they needed two volunteer Umpires: One pitcher- with an alternate from the field to step in if necessary. Three men on base. The third base was known as the “hot corner” and you had to be a good player to be on that base. There was one short stop between second and third base. Three outfields – one in left field, one at centerfield and one at right field. Catcher and the Volunteer Umpires – one roaming between bases to call play at base plus one at home plate to call ball and strikes. Transportation to the various communities to attend the games was by truck – the driver and passenger plus the back of the truck was loaded with men and equipment and was a common sight.

Some of the players were drafted to go on with their baseball: Doyle Homer, drafted but didn’t go on. Clarence “Hig” Higman played semi-pro in Grand Junction.

Al Brazle of Pleasant View (a left handed pitcher) was drafted and went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals team. Al was usually a car salesman when he lived in Cortez. In 1973 Brazle was living in Cortez when he went to the Veterans Hospital in Grand Junction. He passed away due to a heart attack at age 60 years

BEULAH: by Joanne Higman McComb”. The team was mostly Higman. On occasion Bud Rowley and Richard Lindsay played with the teams. Uncle Ed Higman was on 3rd base (the “hot corner”).

LEWIS: Usually Garlinghouse family.

GOODMAN POINT: by Johnnie Belle Fulks McGraw: One of the main activities was a weekly Baseball Game. Cortez, Durango, Yellow Jacket, Pleasant View, Cahone and Dove Creek among others all had teams in the very competitivity league from the early 30’s through the 50’s. The Goodman Point ball diamond was close to Goodman Lake, south of the school house. I remember driving with my Uncle Joe and Aunt Rena to Rico, on a one- way dirt road, barely better that a trail road to play ball. Aunt Rena laid her head down the whole way and held me so tightly I could barely breathe!

Another memorial game was in the late 40’s and the uniforms for the Goodman Point Team had not arrived so players, in their bib overalls and jeans traveled to Durango to play this “townie” team. Durango players and fans could not believe it when at the end of the game they lost to this team of “farmers”!

Pleasant View and Goodman Point played a 1 to 1 game for 20 innings in 1950. Goodman Point finally winning. Jim and Christine Fulks well remember this day as their son, Gary, was born later that night. They couldn’t leave the game, no matter what!. My dad, John Fulks, was the manager for many years and the person and the driving force in buying the land and building the ballpark where the Arriola Community Center is now located.

Sylvan and Pleasant View teams: by Bessie White. Joe Butler was the manager. Team members were: Junior Hollen, Gene Retherford, Ted Retherford, Bill Ingalsbe, Burson and Arthur Rose, Axtells’ Randall’s, Lancasters’, Leonard Woods and Daughtery’s. About 1945 Gene White played with the men. Buster had joined the Navy. The Higgins boys played but Calvin Denton had moved in 1938.

In 1951 through about 1954 Ann Wilson Brown said her family played for the American Legion team. It was a travelling team that went to different celebrations, like Dove Creek “Pick and Hoe”, Mancos, Durango and Dolores. My brother, Kelly played. My father, Glen Wilson could usually get on base then Kelly batted left- handed and could always get in to score. In later years, Dad was the umpire behind the plate. One time he was Umping and the batter hit a bunt so the runner took off running and the catcher was running down to first base. Dad took off running on the outside of the line so he could see if the runner was safe. As he started running the sole on his work boot came undone and he was running down the first line with the shoe sole flopping! Everyone started laughing. Dad kept going and actually outran the catcher. When he got down to first base and declared the runner safe he sat down and took of his boot and walked back to finish the game. He had the sole sewed back on the next day and finished wearing out these boots.

June Head, historian, may be contacted at 970-565-3880 for comments or questions. Ed Higman on Beulah Team, was also my Uncle Ed as he married my father’s sister, Ruth Smith.