Get High on Life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 20, 1999

By HAROLD KELLER / L’Observateur / March 20, 1999

Spring is here! Flower are starting to bloom, vacation plans are being made, school festivals are being held, graduation is just around the corner, and baseball fever is at epidemic stage. Baseball – the greatAmerican pastime that gets people excited when they hear the song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” It’s a little boy’s dream that men play.Two weeks ago, I was visiting my friend, Sheldon Vice, and he showed me a picture taken in 1952. It was of six Little League baseball teams fromSt. John Parish. I stand to be corrected, but I think that was the firstpublic organized Little League program in the River Parishes, which started that year in Reserve. The man responsible for the organization ofthe program was Mr. Roland Toups, who was then the plant manager ofGodchaux Sugar.

The six teams that participated were the LaPlace Cards, coached by Lionel “Torriet” Laurent; the Garyville Braves, coached by Pete Falgoust and Carl Delery; the Reserve Yanks, coached by Charles Avrill and “Kippy” Williamson; the Reserve Cubs, coached by Leon “Cop” Cambre and Charles Battard; the Reserve Giants, coached by Joseph Bossier; and the Reserve Reds, coached by yours truly.

The commissioner was Coach Joe Keller and, believe it or not, we had an official announcer for each game. Henry Adolph Jr. had that privilege.It was a great time for youth baseball and the league was a huge success.

The league lasted three years and was terminated because of the tragic strike at the sugar refinery in 1955.

For two years, Tommy St. Martin, who was a member of the LaPlace Cards,and myself have talked about having a reunion of the players and coaches from that first year. When Sheldon showed me that picture, it motivatedme to contact Tommy and we decided to take some action.

This past Monday, we had an organizational meeting at Tommy’s house. Inattendance were Allen Chapman (Braves), “Mackie” Reine and Tommy St.

Martin (Cards), Louis “Bird” Hotard (Cubs), and Sheldon Vice, David Sutton, Jimmy Therio, Charles Alltmont and myself (Reds). We have decided tohave the reunion on Saturday, April 10.

The committee is excited about the reunion. We ask that anyone whoplayed in the league in 1952 and is interested in attending the reunion to contact me or any of the committee members.

It’s been 47 years since that summer when a group of boys had a great experience. On April 10, we hope to come together and re-live that specialtime in our lives and, also, remember those who are no longer with us.

To the people responsible for starting organized Little League baseball in the River Parishes: Thanks for the memories!

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