News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

November 20, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 20, 2012

TERRE HAUTE —

Memories of ‘old ball park’ abound

It is with some sadness and a great deal of nostalgia that I recently read that the city is going to sell Memorial Park to be developed into an assisted living facility. I have many fond memories of the “old ball park,” as it was known back in the day, long before it became “the hole.”

I was born in the area and spent the first 20 years of my life just a half block north of the ball park.  It seemed as though I practically lived at the park during my childhood and likely spent more hours there than any other individual.

Some of my earliest memories are watching the Indiana State football team use the park as a practice field and of being entertained with the Industrial League fast-pitch softball league with Bobo Bennett, Wayne Myers and Dick Hankins, just to mention a few players. Who can forget the fun of flying down the snow-covered hills on a cold, windy day? Many hours were spent playing tackle football (with no pads), softball and who can forget the game “over the line”?

The most memorable times were the many years I spent playing fast-pitch softball (that’s the only kind) under the capable supervision of Jim Sission. Some of the players that come to mind are Denny Jackson, Butch Wilson, Leroy Byrley, Ernie Melvin, Merle Spittler, Dicky Butler, Ed Beasley, Kenny Harlan, Annie Wilson and Shirley Bennett. These are just a few of the many hundreds of players that spent a big chunk of their youth playing softball at the park.

The park may be filled in, leveled off and a nice facility built, but no one can ever take away the memories of the “old ball park.”

— Donald Shepherd

Terre Haute

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