The guys in orange and black were defending their A-Field home turf yesterday on the baseball diamond. Considering Chester High School graduation was a couple weeks ago, chances are the team on the Chester High baseball field isn’t Chester High.
Delco League baseball started in 1908 and I’d be willing to guess Chester has had a team in the league from the beginning. They won their first league championship in 1913 and their last one in 1917. That means this is the 100th straight year Chester has not won a Delco League Championship (and people complain about the Phillies).
This year’s team isn’t likely to win a championship, but it’s still good baseball and fun to watch.
While scanning the list of champions over the years, my curiosity was peeked when I saw a few names of the managers. Since I don’t have Harry Chaykun or Ed Gebhart on speed dial, my info on these managers will be scant.
- Lou Scioscia won 8 times in 12 years and had a record stretch of 5 in a row during that span (1971-84). He’s the uncle of Mike Scioscia who is currently the longest tenured manager in Major League Baseball with the Los Angeles A’s. My dad told me I played against Mike as a teen, but I don’t remember.
- Jim Weidner won 5 of 6 years between 1956-61.
- A few guys won 4 times but the familiar name is Eddie Dodds who did it between 1938-54 managing Sun Village AA. It didn’t take much digging to learn that he’s probably related to my basketball teammate and biggest opponent when we were kids, Donnie Dodds. From a 1963 article by Ed Gebhart in the Chester Times…
FOR JUST ABOUT as long as we can remember, there’s been an Eddie Dodds figuring prominently in the Delaware County sports ne\vs. First there was Eddie Dodds, Sr., the man largely responsible for his many fine Sun Village AA baseball teams over the years. Then there was Eddie Dodds, Jr., a three-sports star at Chester High and one of the top performers on his Dad’s semipro team in the Village. The current hot shot is Eddie Dodds, in, MVP in the Chester East Little League and Chester’s first Biddy Basketball All – American.
In another old article, Eddie Dodds, Sr. was cited as one of the founders of Chester Biddy League basketball.
- Finally, a manager with only one championship was Rich Merchant in 1977. What makes him special is that he was one of my coaches. I spoke to Rich a couple years ago after learning he transports seniors to doctor appointments and happened to pick up my mother.
Yesterday’s game against Middletown featured the two teams at the bottom of the standings which usually means that chances are good it will be a good game. And it was. Middletown won 6-5.
Here’s some photos from yesterday’s game against Middletown.
Unfortunately, we don’t see too many players of color playing baseball these days but Chester has a few.
You already know what’s going to happen when they gather around the mound with the manager. Both pitchers were good.
I watched 3 of the middle inning and 3rd baseman #11 definitely showed off. While I was there he laid out to gobble up a screaming grounder then popped up and threw the runner out at first; he hit 2-for-2 with a long stand up double to left field; and he stole 3rd base (pictured above). But, as you can see from my super-duper photography skillz, the tag on the hand occurred before he hit the bag.