RURAL KNOTHOLE BASEBALL – Part 2 After playing three years for V.F.W. 3205 in Class C, I moved up to Class B. Our team was sponsored by Bank of Alexandria and coached by my oldest brother Ervin Enzweiler and Bob Franzen. Ironically, Ervin, many years later, became President of the Bank of Alexandria. We had a good team, not great but good.
During my two years in Class B, I was used primarily as a pitcher. During the second year I was fortunate enough to have pitched a perfect game. Not to diminish the glory of it all but some details need to be brought to light. The game was played at Camp Springs Ballfield, a ¼ mile from my house. The opposing team (do not remember the sponsor/name of the team started the game with only nine players present and admittedly they were not the best team in the league (not to diminish the glory of my perfect game).
After completing five innings of the scheduled six inning game with not one of their players reaching base, they were becoming frustrated to say the least and my stuff was working that day. I may have had the slowest and biggest breaking curve ball ever recorded in Campbell County Rural Knothole League play. Rumors had it that batters could catch it barehanded without as much as a slight sting to the bare palm of the hand. I digress too much. A disputed call occurred and the umpire ejected one of their players from the game thus leaving only eight players and not enough to legally complete the game. The game ended at this point and my PERFECT game was preserved after 5 1/3rd innings.
One detail needs to be added, the umpire was my next oldest brother Vern. Not that there was anything wrong with that, he was a qualified league umpire. Oh, by the way, thanks brother Vern. This was by far the highlight game of my two year stint in Class B.
During my final two years in knothole baseball, spent in Class A, age 14-15, I played for Esselmann Tavern (does not sound like an appropriate sponsor for a knothole team). Ironically the tavern went out of business before the uniforms wore out (Class A was the only age group that was permitted complete uniforms, the uniforms were passed down from player to player in succeeding years). The tavern was no longer in business but we were wearing their uniforms promoting the non-existent business but they were cool outfits, grey trimmed in black and orange. We were dressed in Halloween colors all summer long.
During my second year in Class A as a high school Freshman and also playing baseball for Bishop Brossart High School I started competing against players from other area high schools. These were some of the same players that I played with and against in Class A knothole.
During my seven years of organized baseball in the knothole league, I enjoyed many great experiences. However, at the top of the list, was playing in year-end all-star games. All-star players were selected by fellow teammates and our coaches. Very fortunately I was chosen during all seven of my years. By far the best all-star game was my final one.
As a high school Freshman, I recall playing in front of girls my age and yes I was starting to notice them at that age! The pressure to play well with THEM in the stands was more pressure than any teammate, coach, parent or sibling could possibly have exerted on me.
I am so thankful to my parents who drove me to and from practices and games and stayed to watch when I know they had dozens of other things to do.