SPORTS IN PLAIN CITY
(By Lyman H. Cook)
Plain City’s most prominent claim to fame has been through the sports program and the great players and teams that the town has produced. I know of no other town or community in this state, or possibly out of state, that can equal the accomplishments in the total sports program as the town of Plain City. I don’t know how many hundred championships or trophies this town has won in baseball, basketball, softball, volleyball, and Jr. Posses, over the last 75 years or more. We include the young teams and people in the town, and also the girls. These trophies and championships came from local, county, multi county, state, stake, division, region, multi region, and All Church basketball, softball, and volleyball,~which is the largest leagues in the world. ~
On February 14, 1977, at 3:30 PM, there were 226 trophies in the trophy cases at the Plain City Church. I couldn’t begin to estimate the number of trophies in the homes here in Plain City. Can you comprehend the number of teams involved and especially the number of people involved on the teams in accomplishing this great record.
There seems to be a special spirit, or force, ambition, or drive, that compels players to excel and teams to win. The will to win in Plain City is the strongest I have ever known. We have been accused of playing dirty, or being poor sports, but in answer to these charges, I would submit the phrase: We just play hard, and the spirit of competition just brings out the best in us. In Plain City you don’t hope you can win, you are expected to win. Some communities dislike us for our sports program because it is so strong, and in reality, they judge their success of their season by the fact of whether they can beat Plain City or not. I realize these are rather potent and strong statements, but never the less, they are all true.
We dedicate this section on sports to all the people who have ever played on a team in Plain City. We realize that some names will be missing and it is not our intent to forget anyone, but we can’t remember all, and this is all of the sports material that has been turned in for the history. If your name is left off, write it in, and if you were the star of a team, write that in also.
We have asked for and received personal write-ups on a few people who have signed professional contracts or have distinguished themselves in certain sports. roe recognize them for their talents in that they in turn have brought special recognition to Plain City. I am sure these talented athletes would be the first to recognize their fellow team members, for they realize that no one man is bigger or better than the whole team, and in this light, we recognize the teams they played on.
From 1944 until the present, there were three basketball teams that went to All Church and won two second places. Commencing in 1951 through 1954, we played in four fast pitch All Church Tournaments. We won a second place finish and eighth place finish.
In 1953, we played on a volleyball team that went to the All Church Tournament and won the Sportsmanship Trophy, which was a great honor. The team that played were: Dee Cook, Lyman Cook, Wayne Cottle, Wayne Skeen, Blair Simpson, Kenneth Lund, Harold Hadley, and others we couldn’t remember.
There were teams that went to the All Church Slow Pitch Tournaments from Plain City for three years. They won two All Church Championships, and a third place finish. There have been some excellent younger teams in baseball, basketball, and softball, and a Junior team last year (1976) won a second place in the All Church program.
Elmer Singleton started pitching for the Farm Bureau League in Plain City. He pitched for several championship teams. He signed a professional contract with Cincinnati, and played at Wenatchee, Washington in 1939, his first year. He played for Idaho Falls, Portland, and Oklahoma City. He moved on up to the big league and played with the following teams:
Washington in 1950
He was in professional baseball for 27 or 28 years, the last eight years as a player coach.
He pitched two no hitters, one at San Francisco, and the other at Seattle. Elmer won the Player of the Year Award at Seattle in 1956. There is a baseball card with Elmer’s picture on it with the Chicago Cubs. It reads:
“This will be Elmer’s 17th year in professional baseball. He started back in 1940 and after 11 uneventful seasons, got red hot to become one of the top hurlers on the Pacific Coast. In 1952 at San Francisco, he won 17, followed with 15 triumphs in 1953 and moved to Seattle in 1955. There, Elmer won 19 games and in 1956 he had the best Pacific Coast Earned Run Average.”
Elmer told us that before he left to play professional baseball, the people of Plain City honored him at a banquet. They gave him a ball glove, and he still has it. He is listed in the Sports Record along with his accomplishments. Elmer was a great baseball pitcher. The only picture we have of Elmer is with Blair Simpson. Elmer and Blair are cousins.
By Blair Simpson
I attended school at Plain City before going to Weber High School. At Weber High School I participated on the track team, played some basketball and pitched for the Weber High baseball team.
After graduating from Faber High School in 1944, I was drafted into the army for two years.
In 1948, I signed a professional baseball contract with the Pittsburg Pirates organization. While playing with the Pirates, I played with the following cities:
Santa Rosa, California
Charleston, South Carolina
I was a pitcher and had to quit because of an injury to my knee.
After retiring from professional baseball, I played a considerable amount of baseball with Plain City and other teams in the Ogden area, such as:
Ogden Ford Sales
I was selected on the All State Baseball Team composed of 16 players from the State of Utah.
I also played on many softball teams in the Ogden area such as Fisher Hess, Utah General Depot, Fred A. Nyes, Savon, and others.
In 1952, I was named the Most Outstanding Player in the “All Church Fast pitch Softball Tournament” in Salt Lake City, and was also named to the All Church All Star Team in 1953.
In 1963, I received the Most Outstanding Player’ Award in the All Church Softball Slow Pitch Tournament, In 1964, I again received the Most Outstanding Player Award in the slow pitch division of the All Church Tournament held in Salt Lake City. The year 1964 was one of my most memorable occasions in All Church Softball as I hit four consecutive home runs in one game.
I would like to give a lot of credit to whatever successes I have enjoyed in athletics to the talented athletes and supportive fans that lived here in the town of Plain City.
By Wayne Cottle
I was born November 30, 1928, in Ogden, Utah. I lived in Plain City all my life. I attended Plain City Elementary and Junior High. I played basketball in the 9th and 10th grades for Plain City. L. Rulon Jenkins was our coach and our Principal. We played against Hooper, North Ogden, Huntsville, and Weber High School.
In the Fall of 1945, I started Weber High School, playing football, basketball, baseball and track for both years. In 1947 I Played to a tie for the Region I Championship with Box Elder. We played off the tie breaker at Ogden High School, beating Box Elder for the first Region I Championship for many years. I won the Region I scoring title. We entered the State Tournament in Salt Lake City and we lost to Granite, who became the State Champions,in the semifinals. I was the recipient of the Standard Examiner KLO Watch Award for being the outstanding athlete of the year.
I entered Weber Junior College in the Fall of 1947. After about a month of practice I became one of the starting forwards. We played in several tournaments winning 3rd place in the Compton California Invitational. We played an independent schedule that year. In 194849 Weber became a member of the ICAC Conference. We won the conference and played Snow Junior College for the championship of the National Region 4 to represent the four state area in the National Junior College Tournament. We won the game and I was voted the tournament’s Outstanding Player Award. We went to the national finals in Hutchinson, Kansas. We won our first game, then we met two defeats.
In the Fall of 1949, I entered Brigham Young University. I was on the team that won the Skyline Conference Championship for the first time in many years. We went to the NCAA at Kansas City, Missouri. We lost to Baylor University, then beat UCLA for 3rd place. The next year we accepted a bid to enter the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Gardens. We won the National Championship and two of our players were voted All American.
I graduated from BYU in 1951, came back to Plain City and started to play basketball with the Ward team. From the 19511952 season until the creation of the Plain City 2nd Ward in 196O, we never lost a league game in the Farr West Stake. The year of the creation of the Plain City 2nd Ward, they beat us once and we beat them once. We played off the Stake Championship at Wahlquist Jr. High, and we won the tame and the championship. After that season, the Church specified an age limit and I was retired from basketball competition. We won several area championships and went to the All Church several times.
He attended Plain City School where he was active in athletics. He graduated and attended Weber High School in 1947 and 1948, where he participated in football, basketball, baseball and track. In 1948, he was selected on the Class A State All Star Team, in which Weber High School won the championship. He also won the All American Boys Award in baseball at John Affleck Park in 1948. From this he won a trip to Chicago.
He played for the Plain City baseball team for the Farm Bureau and Ogden City Leagues.
From 1948 until 1952 he attended Utah State University at Logan, Utah, where he started on the first five as a freshman, and later in the year played in the AAU Tournament and was selected on the All Tournament Team.
In 19511952, he lead the conference in scoring and was voted All Conference both years. In 1952 he was voted All American in basketball where his Number 6 jersey was retired at Utah State University being the first one in the history of the school. That same year he was selected on the All Conference Team, and traveled with the Harlem Globe Trotters and the College All Stars for several games. Later that year, he signed a contract with the New York Knickerbockers and was drafted into the service where he played for Fort Lee, Virginia Military team in which he lead the scoring and was later voted to the Second Army All Star Team.
He served his country in the Far East Command in 1954, being released in 1955, when he rejoined the Knicks until 1956. After a serious knee injury he returned to Plain City and played for the Plain City Ward and the Ogden City League.
He played on the 1956 team that won second place and he made First Team All Church.
By Archie Skeen
At Weber High School I participated in basketball, baseball and football and was productive and beneficial. After graduation in 1954, I attended Utah State University for two years on a football scholarship. Next, I received a University of Utah Scholarship in baseball. That year. 1958, was a successful year with a batting average of .350. The next year was even more eventful. My batting average jumped to .490. The .490 batting average was good enough to lead the Skyline Conference, plus I was fortunate to lead the NCAA in home runs and RBIs. These statistics and the efforts of the University of Utah Sports Publicity Department lead to my selection as the “First Team Catcher on the College All American Baseball Team.” As a result of this honor, I was selected the “Most Valuable Player in NCAA, District 7.” The year was 1959.
Opportunities were available to sign a professional baseball contract with the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1959 I signed a bonus contract with the Boston Red Sox.
During the next three years I played in the following leagues: Sophomore League in Alpine, Texas; North Carolina League in Raleigh, North Carolina; Midwest League in Waterloo, Iowa; and the Eastern League in Johnstown, Pa. Winter ball was played in Bradenton, Florida.
In 1962, spring training was held in Deland, Florida Because of a successful spring training I was invited to join the Triple A League in Seattle, Washington, “The Seattle Rainiers.” All Star Catcher honors were received in 1960, 1961, and 1962. In 1963 I was invited to spring training with the parent ball club, The Boston Red Sox. At the completion of spring training I was again assigned to the Seattle Rainiers.
Some of the great stars helping the young players were: Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Rudy York, Johnny Pesky and Mel Parnell. As of this year, 1977, the only team mate of mine still with the Boston Red Sox is Carl Yastrzemski.
BASEBALL AND EARLY SPORTS
(By Elwood (Dick) Skeen)
Baseball was Plain City’s most favorite sport. Baseball in Plain City in the early 1920’s and 1930’s was composed of the Plain City Bull Dogs with the following players taking part:
They represented Plain City in the Weber County Farm Bureau League, composed of North Ogden, Hooper, Roy, and Clinton. There were many good ball players in those days that played on the teams. The town park at that time was covered with salt grass. There were no base lines, no pitcher mounds. But, on a Saturday afternoon the park was filled with people that came from all over the county to watch the games. Horses and wagons lined the park.
Foot racing was also a great sport at that time, and Plain City had one of the best in Walter Draney, who was not only fast, but also a great athlete.
As time passed and the older players began to drop out, the chance came for us younger players to take over. In 1925 I caught my first Farm Bureau game at Liberty with Ezra Taylor doing the pitching. Then, the other players that made up our team for the next few years started to play. We had our share of victories. In fact, we had more than our share of wins.
Finances at that time were hard to come by. We did what we could to raise the money to continue supporting the team. In 1928, the ball team put on the first Black and White Day with Merwin Thompson and Joseph Skeen showing their cattle. We had a horse pulling and a baseball game. An old time refreshment stand, soda water, ice cream, candy bars, and popcorn, which sold for 5¢. Also, some drinks that were not sold at the stand.
Our uniforms were furnished by Plain City individuals and business firms from Ogden. Suits would have the name of the giver on the back. Decoration day and the Fourth of July were our most celebrated days with all kinds of sports for those who wished to perform. A baseball game and a dance in the evening would top the day.
We would get the best teams from Ogden to play on these days so that we could show what was leading up to the best team we had. In 1930, we won the Weber County Farm Bureau League, and the town bought us new uniforms to go to Lagoon to play Sandy, Utah, for the State Championship. We lost by a close score. Our players were:
Bill Freestone was the manager. Angus Richardson was the coach. Elmer Carver took care of finances, and Floyd Palmer and Byron Carver were scorekeepers. We played in tournaments at Brigham City and Ogden, and some out of state games were played.
We continued playing, but soon the gang started drifting different ways and our days were coming to an end. The league started to dwindle and later, folded up with the workload increase. Baseball was soon lost to the towns in Weber County.
PLAIN CITY SOFTBALL TEAM OF 1951
(By Lyman Cook)
Plain City has always been a very strong baseball town, and the feeling was that softball was a game for girls, or you played softball at family reunions. In 1951 the Farr West Stake started a softball program and wanted teams to participate. I was Ward Athletic Director at that time and asked these players to play. This was the first softball team organized in Plain City. We won the Stake and District III. We then went on to the All Church Tournament in Salt Lake City. We won some and lost some, not too eventful. I coached the team the first year we played. This was a fastpitch team.
PLAIN CITY WARD SOFTBALL TED OF 1952
(By Lyman Cook)
In 1952 we repeated as stake champions and also won the Division III Championship again. We went to the All Church Tournament again and played very well. We played for the All Church Championship, but lost to Pocatello 10th Ward in a good game. Blair Simpson was voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Wayne Cottle made the All Church Team. There may be others. This was also a fast pitch team. Dick Skeen was the coach.