MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –There was a baseball game at Harlem High School Monday, but this wasn’t just another high school game.
The Huskies hosted Freeport. It was also alumni day. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first full-season baseball team at Harlem that took the field in 1962. To mark the occassion, six men who played on that original team were present. They are Denny Johnson, Carl Sterling, Tom Marinelli, Sam Tillett, Mike Peterson and Joe Clinton.
They say things have changed a little since the early ’60s.
“We didn’t have a field that looks like this field,” said Clinton. “I think they moved the cows out of the pasture and then we got to play. We laid out a field, and we had a great coach though. The first coach was Charlie Moser.”
“Like Joe said we didn’t have much of a field,” said Peterson. “I think we were down at Francis Park which is down behind the Chicle factory down there, so you got the gum smell all the time, and we never had any uniforms that first year. I think we just had some sweatshirts, and then we progressed from there the next year.”
Also attending the game were the five living former Harlem head baseball coaches Ron Franiak, Ken Franzen, Bill Gerling, Doug Livingston, and Don Tresemer.
As for the baseball game, Harlem defeated Freeport 3-2. The Huskies scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the third inning and then held on behind the pitching of Ethan Seipts. He pitched a complete game while striking out ten batters.
To view the alumni day and the game highlights watch the media player above.