this report was provided by Telephone Pioneer C. M. Swenson.
"Welcome to the 1976 1st. NBBA Tournament in St. Paul, Minnesota."
Honorary Chairmen; Senator Hubert H. Humphrey and Tom Nurnberger, President Telephone Pioneers
We ask the audience to please remain quiet while the ball is in play in order for the batter and fielders to hear the ball and the base.
If you do not know the true meaning of desire, hustle and playing with your heart, you should have been at St Paul Minnesota's Dunning Field on September 10,11 and 12th. You would have seen the first National Beep Baseball Tournament for the Blind.
Eight teams qualified for the three day event with the championship game at 3:30 PM on Sunday. Each team played at least two games with the winners playing three. St. Paul and the Phoenix Thunderbirds went undefeated and played for the championship. St. Paul went home the champs.
Represented were clubs from St. Paul and Minneapolis, Phoenix (two), San Francisco, Chicago, Sioux Fall and San Antonio.
The two Phoenix teams sponsored by the Telephone Pioneers of America and Lions Clubs brought home second and third place trophies to show for their hard play and battle scared bodies.
The tournament was played on a dirt field, which is a first for the Phoenix teams, as we have always played on grass. This didn't bother the players. They continued to run hard for the bases, tumble over each other in the field in their desire to pick up the beeping ball.
before the runner could find the audio activated base.They hit the bases so hard they would fall to the ground in their haste to score a run before the fielder could find the ball. Yes, I would say they played with their heart.
Shirley Strayer, one of our players hit the base so hard she fell to the ground face first and I thought she was knocked out. When I reached her all she said was, I'm okay, I just have a mouth full of dirt and was ready to go again.
Vincent Blaise, our youngest player, just seventeen, hurt his hip running for a base and could hardly walk but would not let himself be removed from the game.
Debbie Cooper made a complete somersault going for one of the bases and was banged pretty bad. Allen Woody and Bill Gibney both came home with twisted ankles. In all only one player out of the ten came through unscratched on the field. However, he did manage to fall down a flight of stairs in the hotel, so they all came home limping.
Three of our players won All Star selections and brought home trophies. They were Vincent Blaise, LeRoy Kerr and Ed Sanders.
The Results of the games played by the two Phoenix teams are as follows:
The tournament was the most worthwhile project I have ever been associated with and I would like at this time to thank everyone who helped on bake sales, CB radio raffles and donations made by each Life Member Club. Special thanks to Katie Lasater, Bob and and Dorothy Sheidler, Becky Sheidler, Rebecca Williams, Pam Bragg, Buck Steinhouser and Mel Latimer, who went along as assistants and ended up as doctors.
Next year's tournament is scheduled for Lawrence, Kansas and we will not settle for second or third place."
C. M Swenson
Past- President, Thunderbird Council
Telephone Pioneers of America
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