Eleven Arizona State Legion Championships, thousands of games, hundreds of drafted players and experiences to last a lifetime.
Our KFC-sponsored Legion team took on all comers, and competed with the best the west had to offer. For example, much to the consternation of our hosts in Ogden Utah in 2000 we showed up with but 10 players, but still managed to upset the national favorite, and lost only to California, the eventual National Champion.
Most of our teams were underdogs. We played anyone, anywhere, any time. Our methods were different.
I was called in one year to make a speech to the West Regional Tournament Banquet when our chosen speaker, former Major League player and coach JR Howell, at the last minute, could not attend due to family illness. I was then elected. I started my speech reading an imaginary letter from an imaginary friend. who wrote:
"I heard that you of all people will be giving a talk at the West Regional Banquet. whatever possessed those people to invite you when they had JR Howell. I mean, you are some old guy who never gives a sign in the 3rd base coaching box with your score book looking like a "Schlump", Jewish for "Schlump". You drink no water and carry a mug of coke. That's just not done, dude. Your teams come out in dirty uniforms that haven't been washed in six months. Your teams run bases like wild men. Dude, there's no medal for getting people thrown out. Of all the stupid things, I saw you send a runner from second on a ground ball to second in the state championship game. How the heck he was safe, I'll never know. You had this little second baseman who stole second on every first pitch. He was only safe all the time because he was fast. Your team always seemed to show up at game time. You'd go to tournaments with only 9 or 10 guys. How you would win 10 or 11 State Legion titles, two Connie Mack titles, 14 S. Arizona championships and two Pony championships, I'll never know. By the way, can my son play for you next summer."
Yes, Legion was special.
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