After Further Review

Book is a Love Story of Baseball in the ’60s by thad mumau

Maz to Yaz to Amazin’ was a natural as far as I was concerned. The idea of writing a book about baseball in the 1960s was exciting. Doing it was a bunch of fun.

The ’60s were the pinnacle of major league baseball, a decade overflowing with sensational players, sizzling pennant races and spectacular feats. It was marked by change as the landscape of the game was altered dramatically. There were new rules, new teams, new stars and a new makeup, as leagues were broken into divisions and playoffs preceded the World Series.

It was a decade filled with fluorescent memories, beginning with the first-ever World Series-ending home run long before walkoff was a trendy baseball term; closing with a truly amazing Fall Classic; with one of the most fantastic individual stretch runs sandwiched in between.     Read more

MY OLD BASEBALL by thad mumau

I have this old baseball. It has turned a yellowish color despite being stored in a plastic bag, but you can still make out the names even though they were signed more than 60 years ago.

The autographs of Wynn Hawkins and Danny Osinski stand out for me. Partly because both pitchers made it to the major leagues, but also because they “adopted” a small boy who idolized them.

Jim Pokel was the most popular local autograph back then, and my daddy and other men who knew baseball talked a lot about an infielder named Donnie Montgomery.

Those names and others scrawled on my treasured ball were listed on the roster of the Fayetteville Highlanders. I was nine years old when the 1956 Carolina League season began.

My daddy worked at a tire store, and one of the co-owners had purchased two season tickets to support the team. But he didn’t care much for baseball, and knowing that Dad loved it, he gave the tickets to him. Read more

The Highlanders of 1956 by Thad Mumau

It was 62 years ago when Fayetteville won the Carolina League baseball championship. The Highlanders finished fourth in the regular-season standings, then surged through the playoffs by knocking off two teams led by future major league stars.

A Cleveland Indians affiliate back then, the Highlanders boasted a terrific starting rotation comprised of five right-handers. They anchored a pitching staff that finished second in the league in earned run average.

All five starters won 10 or more games, Larry Dressen leading the team with 17, followed by Wynn Hawkins with 16, both posting sub-3.00 ERAs. Danny Osinski, Ray Konkoleski and Ted Fowler rounded out that outstanding rotation.

The Highlanders were a fine team. They had Donnie Montgomery, a .300 hitter who could play several positions. Long-time Fayetteville resident Bob “Rabbit” Mayhew was the shortstop. Ed Cook and Dick Hofleit were power-hitting outfielders.

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THE ORIGINAL TITO by thad mumau

Collecting baseball cards, discovering the wealth of baseball information in The Sporting News and buying a Street & Smith’s Baseball Yearbook every spring helped me get to know big league players. Not just the stars, but the other guys. And writing about some of those other guys from the 1950s and ’60s is one of the things I like to do.

John Patsy Francona comes to mind. The original Tito, the Cleveland Indians’ manager’s dad. Particularly his 1959 season, when he had the highest batting average in the majors but did not win a batting championship.

 Tito Francona won the center field job with the Baltimore Orioles during spring training in 1954 and played well enough (.258, 9 home runs, 57 RBIs, 11 stolen bases) that he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting. A misleading honor, however, as White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio received 22 of 24 first-place votes. Read more

The Minor Leagues Are a Crystal Ball by thad mumau

As the Fayetteville/Buies Creek Astros embark on their second season, dirt is being moved to begin building a baseball stadium for the team. Not just any ball yard. A multi-million dollar tabernacle with all the fixin’s.

I’m excited! I love baseball and having our own ball club downtown is very Americana. Families finishing supper, driving to town and watching a game. Root, root, root for the home team. Vendors hawking hot dogs, peanuts and Crackerjack.

Take me out to the ballgame.

Minor league baseball is special. Anyone following the game knows that. You see a kid pitcher firing speedballs, some of them maybe hitting the backstop, and some day down the road, you see him on your television screen.

The chance to see prospects develop. From the home team and the visitors. To do this, you’ve got to attend games on a regular basis. Catching a game here and there, you might miss it. Miss that gangly outfielder getting hold of one and sending the ball into orbit.

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Play Ball! by Thad Mumau

This is my favorite time of year. The grass turning green doesn’t so much signal spring to me as it sends the reminder that baseball season is right around the corner.

I’m a baseball lover. Not a fan, because that word doesn’t do justice to how I feel about what I reverently call The Game.

Growing up, I played cow pasture ball, where games were marked not by innings but by entire afternoons. Where ground rules were made to deal with cow paddies and sand spurs and finding ways to get outs in battles of three-on-three.

Opening Day is always grand. The national holiday for optimists. So much hope, so much promise, so many questions. Will the phenoms be flops? Can those speedballers avoid Tommy John surgery? Will rosters bolstered by off-season transactions stay healthy? Read more

March – Lion or Lamb?

March 1 and it’s the age-old question:  will March come in like a lion or a lamb?  Well, I don’t know, but it will come in busy as a bee!  Let’s look at what March ushers in – or out. 

It’s the end of the high school basketball season, and the state playoffs are already underway.  But as basketball leaves us, baseball begins – and so does golf, tennis, lacrosse, track, and girls’ soccer.  And it is not only in high school.  March means it’s ACC Basketball Tournament time followed quickly by the NCAA and NIT tournaments.  And college baseball has already begun.  In fact, our own Methodist University Monarchs are already sporting a gaudy 10-2 record!  Softball, golf, tennis, track and lacrosse are also underway.

And speaking of golf, our Mid-South Sports sponsored professional golfer, Daniel Claytor, has already won twice on the Florida leg of the tour.  His latest win came at Eagle Harbor Golf Club in Jacksonville, Florida where Daniel’s final round 62 not only won the tournament, but also set a new course record!  It must be the Mid-South Sports logo on the left sleeve of his Donald Ross shirts!

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Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas

The  Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas announced today that Mid-South Sports Network, a sports broadcasting and production company based in Fayetteville, NC, has been chosen as the radio broadcast group for the 81st Annual Shrine Bowl to be played December 

16, 2017 in Spartanburg, SC.  The game will be played at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College.

The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas was first played on December 4, 1937 in Charlotte, N.C., making it the oldest high school football all-star game in the nation.  The annual game featuring many of the top high school players from North and South Carolina is played to benefit the Greenville (South Carolina) Unit Shriners Hospital for Children © and the 21 other Shriners Hospitals for Children © across the nation.

“It is an honor to have been selected by the Shrine Bowl Committee, and to be a part of this All Star spectacular.  It is nice to be recognized and rewarded for something we love to do – broadcast high school football”, said Charles Koonce, President of Mid-South Sports.  “But it is even more humbling to know that we are a part of long-standing program that has seen literally thousands of the best high school athletes in North and South Carolina, and has raised millions of dollars for Shriners Hospitals.”

Giving Thanks

It’s  November and thoughts turn to Thanksgiving – or to giving thanks.  It’s easy as American’s to give thanks for our freedoms, and because we live in a military community, it’s easy to give thanks for those who make sure we continue to be free.  It’s also easy to give thanks for a stock market in excess of 23,000 – my 401K and ITA have never looked better!  Oh, and add in cooler days and nights, colorful leaves, and pumpkin spice.

But, as a sports fan, I guess I’m most thankful for October.  I know that sounds a little strange, but think about it for a moment.  In October Major League Baseball (MLB) is in full playoff mode culminating in the World Series.  The National Football League (NFL) is just hitting its stride.  The National Basketball Association (NBA) tips off.  College football is pointing toward the bowl games, and high school football is wrapping up the conference schedule.  And, to top it off, the new season of the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tees off.  Every sport imaginable – or at least TV worthy – is in action in October.  What’s not to be thankful for?

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Sports Flash

The Game of the Week »

How about football on Tuesday?  Tuesday evening, Sept. 25, South View will play at Westover in a hurricane make-up game. ... READ MORE »

Methodist University Football »

Our Methodist University Monarchs have fallen short in their first two games of the 2018 season.  Our next home game is... READ MORE »

DANIEL CLAYTOR »

Mid-South  Sports, Inc. is proud to help sponsor pro golfer, Daniel Claytor.  Daniel is from Rocky Mount, NC and was a... READ MORE »

Lloyd Foster Extra Effort Award »

Once again, each Friday night of the 2018 High School football season, Mid-South Sports will be naming a recipient for the... READ MORE »

VALLEY AUTO WORLD PRESENTING SPONSOR OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL »

The  Major Sponsor of the Mid-South Sports High School Football Game of the Week for 2017 is VALLEY AUTO WORLD.  Located at... READ MORE »