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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring Training - New Gretna Style

Here it is, the beginning of March. Hopefully, the worst part of the winter is behind us. It's a time when a young man's fancy turns to - BASEBALL.

A daily glance at the sports page shows highlights of Spring Training down in sunny Florida and out in the warm desert climate of Arizona. The Philadelphia sports writers are already proclaiming the Phillies' starting four the best pitching staff in the history of the game and this year's World Series Championship practically in the bag.

New Gretna also had it's share of baseball stars. I got an email the other day from Joyce Sutton with an attachment provided by her husband, Bob, containing a list of his favorite New Gretna baseball players from the "good old days."

In the spirit of Spring Training, I decided to share Bob's List, complete and in his own hand writing, with you here at the Blog.

Jack " Jelly Sandwich" Mathis
Wonder why they called him " Jelly Sandwich" ?

(l-r) Sam Carr,Rich Hickman & Jack Mathis
Baseball buddies

Orval Mathis

Lou Bourguignon - 1948

Norman Mathis

Fred Kalm - 1948

Bob Sutton - Senior Year, 1950

Harvard "Hob" Allen, Senior Year, 1951

John Barnes

Well, there you have it ! Are they a match for this year's Phillies? You be the judge.

Pete S

PS- John Yates wrote in a comment below that his grandfather, Elihu Ward Sears (1877-1927), who lived in New Gretna, was said to be an excellent baseball player. This would have been before the time of Bob Sutton's list; however, I think it appropriate to place a photo of Ward below.


  1. Love "Talkin Baseball". How appropiate with the recent passing of "The Duke".

    Ditty is also in the THS team of 1914 picture. (p.107 of Downshore from Manahawkin to New Gretna. Maybe the original at the historical society is better resolution.

    Did you know that my uncle Hob's (Harvard Allen)twin boys (Greg and Kevin) had successful college baseball careers.(Cornell and Miami, I believe)

    Great stuff!

    John Allen

  2. Pete,

    I don't think that picture is Harvard "Hob" Allen at age ten, I think that picture is of my Dad (Earle Allen), it just doesn't look like Uncle Hob. What do you think, John? Also, not that it's important, I don't think Kevin and Greg are twins, I think they're a year apart. I'll ask Aunt Kay. It's all still very interesting!

    Noreen Allen Clark

  3. Noreen and Pete

    I thought that the picture looked like dad as well. Dad (Earle) was 10 years older though. If the picture is 1933 vintage it would be him, but Hob was 10 in 1943, when dad was in the Pacific during WW II. Aunt Clare (Uncle Bup/Alston's wife) would be the best source, she and Hob went all through school together.

    Couple of other comments: I remember from Dave Kalm's scorebooks that Stan "Tater" Cramer was a shortstop. It looks as if Hob Allen '51 and Bob Sutton '50 were team mates at THS. Does Bob remember Henry Boney, the coach? He also had great success at Pleasantville High School 12 years later.

    John Allen

  4. Noreen,

    You're correct. The photo I posted was not Harvard but was your dad, Earle Allen. Somehow I got the photos mixed up. I corrected the mistake by posting a high school photo of "Hob".

    Sorry about that.

    Pete S

  5. My grandfather, Elihu Ward Sears (1877-1927) was an excellent baseball player in his youth in New Gretna according to my Aunt (who will be 90 later this month. She has told me that when she was young a number of people told her that he could have qualified for the major leagues.

    John Yates

  6. John,

    Thanks for your comment regarding Ward Sears' baseball prowess. I've added his photo in a PS.

    Pete S

  7. Hi Pete.

    You should check on Fred Kalm's story. He became a great pitcher when in high school. A scout for the Detroit Tigers saw him (maybe Doc Cramer) and signed him up. He didn't like the place they put him and quit. Maybe Clair could fill you in.

    Bob M