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Russett, Oklahoma

Baseball Stories

 


Pitcher's Shoes

by Frank Behrens

 

In the fall of 1954, our family moved from Russett to Addington, OK.  At the same time Mr. Fred Henry moved his daughters, Carolyn, Gwendolyn, and Margaret Ann to the Addington area.  In the spring of 1955, the Addington school Superintendent, Mr. Brooks announced that Addington would field a high school baseball team - they had not done that in many years.  As a senior in high school (and from Russett), I was one of the only members of the team who had played competitive baseball.  One of the other team members could throw strikes but no one could catch so I was the catcher.  On occasion, I was called on to pitch.  Early in the season, Mr. Fred Henry came to me with a pair of baseball shoes with a pitchers toe.  He said that I would need these during the year and that they were "Guyman's shoes".  During the year I was called upon many times to pitch.  I couldn't throw the high hard one that Guyman did, but I had a magical curve ball that caused many hitters to bail out before it hit the strike zone.  The curve ball was lazy and ineffective until the day Mr Fred Henry gave me "Guymans shoes", and at the point it became magical.  When on the mound, I believed I was superior to any hitter.  When in doubt, I looked down at the shoes and was blessed with magic.


Guyman Henry was a very good ballplayer during the late 40’s and early 50’s in both baseball and basketball. Guyman was dominating as a baseball pitcher. Every other team knew about Guyman and would develop strategies to beat him. It didn’t work very often but on one occasion at Mannsville Guyman was not having a good day and in one inning he walked 3 batters and the count was 3 balls and 0 strikes. Guyman came down off the mound and yelled “Take me out” to Coach Murk. Coach Murk called time and went to the mound to talk to Guyman. I was in center field and could see the dialogue going on but could not tell what they were saying. Guyman stayed in the game and struck out that batter on 3 pitches, then struck out the next 2 batters. Afterwards Coach Murk said he told him “Don’t ask somebody else to get you out of this mess you got yourself in, get out there and do your job.”. The Mannsville coach admitted later that he was having his players go up there and not swing at the ball until they got 2 strikes on them. He said “We couldn’t hit him so why swing, maybe we will get it called a ball”.  Story by Dale O’Steen.


Larry Wilcox recalls a baseball game we had with Ravia in the early fifties.  T-Bone King was the
umpire.  Those Ravia guys were mean SOBs and we wound up getting two guys spiked.  Seems like it was J K Biles that was spiked on second base by the Ravia guy intentionally stepping on his foot as he rounded second base.  Then I seem to remember somebody was spiked on third base as the Ravia guy slid-in chest high and hitting the Russett player in the chest with his spikes.  I recall old T-Bone King was a very dramatic umpire.  He would call the strikes very loudly with great gesticulation.  He also said if it was in doubt he would call for the pitcher because it was so far between the pitcher and the small home plate.  Whereas the batter had a big bat.


In 1951, Russett won the district baseball championship. Russett defeated Ravia in the finals. Ravia’s coach, Overton James, was in charge of the tournament and had to make the presentation to Russett after the game. The trophy did not have any hardware with lettering and decorations on it. Mr. Murk asked why, and the response was something like “I lost it, I’ll have to get you some more”. In reality he was upset at losing to Russett and never gave them the hardware. After winning that tournament, Russett went to the Regionals at Atoka (I think). I remember that the team had uniforms and were dressed real nice. Russett played in blue jeans and sneakers. I remember having to ask their centerfielder if I could use his glove. It was pretty intimidating. Story by Dale O’Steen.


In the game of football “Clothesline” is an illegal play in which a player strikes an opponent across the face or neck with an extended arm.  The penalty for a clothesline is 15 yards.  This is a story about a real clothesline.  Russett was playing a baseball game against some other high school and Guymon Henry was pitching.  I noticed in other stories that Guymon was pitching.  He was an incredible athlete.  If you recall the baseball diamond was in the northeast corner of the school ground.  Right across from the baseball diamond was the Easterwood’s home.  This was before they moved to below the hill and it was the location of Fred Chapman’s Headquarters.  Guymon pitched the ball and the batter hit a high fly-ball that went toward the Easterwood’s yard.  Guymon being the good athlete he was went for the fly-ball.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Easterwood had a clothesline in the backyard.  Guymon with his eye on that high fly-ball ran right into that clothesline.  It caught him under the chin and he spun up and fell flat on his back.  He was literally “Clotheslined”.  But, being the outstanding athlete he was, Guymon got up and came back to finish the game.  Story by Larry Wilcox.


 

 

 


 

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Last modified: 05/27/07