A Cowboy’s Faith: Memorable days on ballfields – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Memorable days on ballfields

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Baseball is America’s favorite pastime.”

While a certain cowboy doesn’t agree, it’s true for many others in this country. Conversations heard in recent days have often centered on the baseball season at hand.

Decades ago, renowned rodeo contractor Emmett Roberts called about getting a horse trained, but stopped conversation to hear baseball scores. Now there remain reflections of youthful days playing baseball.

Town kids walked home from school for dinner while country kids who rode the bus to school ate from lunchboxes. They’d finish before classes were to resume and played workup softball for fun. Other students upon return for afternoon school classes were allowed to join the game.

Rules were lax but typically there were no outfielders just those playing the bases, pitcher and catcher. When there was an out, players got to move from base positions to become batters. Latecomers to the field might even workup to bat at least once.

Sometimes there were a dozen on the field and anybody who caught a fly ball automatically went to bat. Throughout grade school a wannabe cowboy got to bat a few times, had a couple hits, and scored maybe once.

One controversial rule involved the signboard at the north edge of the ballfield. Sometimes hitting the ball over the signboard was a homerun. Other times it’d be an out because the softball often went into Harry Blim’s coon dog pen causing howling disgust.

A couple times summer Little League coaches needed a player to fill their teams. They asked a wannabe to help out, but were sorry afterward. He could play outfield where there was little action, but problem arose when it came his turn at bat. Without exception that was always an out for some excuse.

Softball was generally played during school recess too, with the class divided into teams. Captains chose players and assigned positions with a wannabe asking for second base so he’d sometimes get to bat.

One time Billy Porter was playing first base when wannabe ran to it after a short hit. Billy reached up to catch the ball and wannabe ran into him causing a gash in the runner’s temple. Noticeable scar remains six decades later verifying why baseball is not a cowboy’s favorite pastime.

Reminded of Ecclesiastes 11:6: “Following activity of personal interest will be good.”

030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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