Midland Mothers in LL Limelight

Tapping the Keg by J. Suter Kegg, Cumberland Times-News, 1967

Things are getting serious in the Little League baseball wars. Mothers are being drafted in Midland.

If there is to be a diamond program for youngster in that community it will be up to the women to get the ball rolling. And a handful of them has vowed that there will be Little League baseball in Midland despite losing Gene Dawson, the guiding light.

Gene Dawson, the league’s cherubic prexy, underwent serious throat surgery yesterday at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore and isn’t expected to be back home in time to get the program into operation. That’s where the mama come in.

Bea Muir, who has been working with Dawson the past five years as league  secretary, has taken it upon herself to step into the breach. “I don’t know a thing about drawing up a schedule and countless other duties Gene assumed, but we’re going to get this job done somehow”, Mrs. Muir promises.

She has, of course, the president’s blessing. Just hours before he was to face the surgeon’s knife, Gene wrote to Bea from his hospital bed with instructions. “Please go ahead with the mothers’ game and try to line up some help”, the letter stated. “I expect to be home in time to lend a hand”.

Mrs. Muir is depending on Mrs. Dorothy Hunt, vice president, and Mrs. Patty Morton, Assistant secretary, for service “above and beyond the call of duty”. It might mean sacrificing some of the household chores, or perhaps putting papa to work making beds, scrubbing floors and washing windows. At any rate, Bea promises Midland’s youngsters that there will be Little League in 1967.

The mothers’ game mentioned in Dawson’s letter will be played Monday evening at 6 o’clock, at McVeigh Field. Tried last year for the first time, the softball contest proved and entertaining attraction. But more than that, profit derived from the venture will go into the Little League operation.

Last season a total of 112 boys was involved in the Joseph Monahan Memorial League, official name for the circuit, and Mrs. Muir expects that many or more to register for 1967.

Dawson, an affable, roly-poly guy, who knows how to get things done, is described by Mrs. Muir as a tireless toiler with a system that ticks like clockwork. “no one”, she says, “knows how much this man has meant to our community. He did so many little things that only us in the league knew about; all of his planning was perfect”.

In addition to furnishing a wholesome summer recreation program, the Little League  President saw to it that the youngsters were rewarded with a trip every year. Sometimes they have gone to major league games and on other occasions they have made educational trips.

Mrs. Muir cited a visit to Washing as a perfect example of Gene’s organization. There was, she said no lost time. ” He arranged a schedule that left nothing to be desired. Why, he even had the exact number of minutes figured out in traveling from the White House to the Smithsonian Institution and the time we would spend in each place”.

Gene also furnished the ideas for raising money, having the Little League mothers sponsor dances, bake sales, etc. The boys don’t have complete uniforms but they all are equipped with jerseys bearing the colors of the major league clubs whose names they have taken.

Boys of all ages in Midland get a chance under the Dawson setup. PeeWees play in the 5-8 category, while the B teams are those 8 to 11, and the A’s, 11 to 13.

Although Gene hasn’t had a youngster of his own in the league for several years, his interest remains as keen as it ever was, evidence of this being his sick-bed plea to carry on. He never misses showing up for a game. Maybe he’ll stay for only 15 min. or 20 minutes, but he’s always there.  In fact, he doesn’t even live in Midland anymore, having moved his family to Clarysville last fall.

With Gene sidelined, Mrs. Muir is depending on her 15 yr old son, Jimbo, to do a lot of the work that the president would ordinarily take care of. She is also hoping that some of the men fold in the community volunteer their services so that the 1967 program will be a success. Right now, the only men in the picture are George (Peanut) Hersick, treasurer of the league since 1962, and Mayor Lionel Baker who is always ready to provide a lift to the kids. However, Mrs. Muir needs some managers and anyone interested in taking over a team is asked to contact her at league headquarters–her home.

Gene didn’t get into the Little League picture as a baseball neophyte. For years he was business manager of the strong Westvaco teams in the Bi-State League.