Remembering the glory days of Pauls Valley baseball
PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (KTEN) — Back in the 1940s and 50s, Pauls Valley was home to one of the baseball teams in the Sooner State League.
Brothers Lonnie, A.B. and Lloyd Pearson all played for the Pauls Valley Raiders.
"All three of them were in the war; all three of them came back safe," said Gail Holder, who was a scorekeeper for the team.
The stories about them bring back fond memories about minor league baseball.
"I knew A.B. and Lonnie well," said Steve Jarman. "A.B., the one incident I remember about him, he got fooled by a changeup and already strided out, so he dropped down on one knee and hit a home run one-handed."
Danny Linville was a nephew of the Pearson brothers.
"Joe told me one time about A.B., how strong he was," Linville recalled. "He check-swinged a pitch one time and the ball hit the bat anyways, and it knocked it over the fence."
Baseball played a huge part in Linville's family.
"All my family was baseball. My son, he's a baseball coach. Everybody loves baseball, and they used to go and watch them play all they could. I remember them working with my son as he was growing up a little bit," Linville said.
The Raiders joined the Sooner State League in 1948. But before they took the field at Wacker Park, they needed a name, one that was given to them by a Paoli kid.
"He had a new bicycle, and he told everybody he won it by submitting the name 'Raiders' ... how else he could've gotten a bicycle, because his dad was the only town drunk that Paoli had," said Larry Spence.
It didn't take long for the City of Pauls Valley to rally for their team.
"We lived baseball at my house," Holder said. "My dad played for the Boosters before the Raiders came, and then he became groundskeeper there. My brother was bat boy, my mother sold tickets, and I worked on the scoreboard."
Especially in the Oklahoma heat, a baseball game can drag on for a kid.
"Of course, being a young boy, I get real hungry. And I would wait 'til the end of the inning — i know I'd have three outs to run around to the concession and get me a hot dog and a Coke — so I did that quite often, too," Holder said.
There's much more to this Pauls Valley team, so check back for Part 2 of our story.