By Keith Gibson
The sun has been warming us for several days now, but, as any WP native knows, there are still snow clouds lurking beyond our local mountains. It is the time of year to dig out the bats, balls and gloves to get started on another baseball season.
Years ago, before TV, IPhones etc. baseball was an important part of daily life. The youngsters honed their baseball skills on vacant lots and soon were good enough to join a local team. Every town in the area had several teams.
There were the American Junior League teams for the teenagers and the older players formed town teams and service club teams. There was a lot of competition and the spectators were treated to many hours of great local baseball games.
The town of McGill for many years was a powerhouse in the Junior League. The brochure in the picture lists the many years McGill won the Nevada State Championships. The year was 1951, and was the Silver Anniversary of their first win in 1926.
McGill had a rather large ball park on G Avenue and the main highway. It had a dirt field until 1948-49, when Kennecott made some drastic changes. The grandstand used to be on the corner of G and the highway. The infield was level but after 2nd and 3rd base the outfield started to slope up the hill to the grade school. When playing in center and left field one could look down towards home plate. There was no grass on the park at all. It was all dirt and rocks.
Each spring folks from all over town would bring their dandelion toothed rakes and rake the whole field. There were many smaller rocks still left and these could cause a nasty bounce to a ground ball. Bloody noses and black eyes were common.
The local copper company, Consolidated Copper, sanctioned teams as far back as 1907. Later on in 1935 Kennecott did the same thing. They also were instrumental in bringing in seasoned players from around the US, by giving them good jobs.
Several players came from big league teams. One of them that I knew was Louis Perkins. He had been a left- handed hurler for the San Diego Padres. These seasoned players formed several formidable teams in McGill that played semi-pro teams from other states. They also were instrumental in coaching and forming the youngster into a powerhouse Junior League team.
The 1947 Champs were honed fifty years later in 1997 by the Las Vegas Stars pro-team. They gifted the McGill boys with a beautiful plaque and the Nevada Gov. proclaimed that day as McGill Baseball Day.
One of the players, Wayne Pearson sent me the plaque and the Gov’s proclamation. All in all, the baseball players from all around WP provided many hours of entertainment for their loyal fans.