Connie Mack – Philadephia A's Class D Team – Proposed Coaldale "Stadium" -- Gene Ambrose – Norman Richards -- "Bunny" Blaney – Andy Kalen – Coaldale American Legion – Coaldale Lions Club

By James H. "Casey" Gildea

(Source: Coaldale Observer, Circa 1950)

An interesting question was put to George Bellis at the Gene Ambrose dinner. It was: "Do you believe Connie Mack will be interested in backing a Class D team in Coaldale after the new stadium is completed?" Bellis said he would put the question to the head of the A's farm system and give the answer just as soon as it is given to him.

Hogan Fulmer put the same question to Mr. Mack two years ago and was given an affirmative answer, the A's owner claiming he is definitely interested in backing a team for this area.

The question revives the one asked as to how soon the new field will be ready for use. There's a confliction of views. Norman Richards, superintendent of Coaldale district L.N.C. company, under whose direction the work is being done, claims it will be ready for the 1950 football season. Others hold to the opinion that grass looks green at a distance and claim there are no roots to the crop that will soon be sprouting on the field. It is within the realm of possibility to open the gates on the new stadium in September but our guess is the calendar will be set back another 12 months.

In the meantime a lot of attention is being given to the problem of inducing "Bunny" Blaney to come back to Coaldale, the home of his birth. With Blaney at left half, Andy Kalen claims he will have an even better team than last year’s runner up for conference honors.

The Gene Ambrose dinner Tuesday night was a fine testimonial to a deserving boy. Ambrose was outstanding in high school football and basketball. He made good in Legion baseball and was better than average in the Panther Valley circuit. His speed and batting eye caught the attention of Ira Thomas and the invitation to attend the A's baseball school in Florida was given the young man. Standing 6 feet 1 inch and weighing in the neighborhood of 190 pounds, the Coaldale youngster has the physical assets of a big league ball player. The dinner was important in that the American Legion and Coaldale Lions Club through recognizing talent when expressed gives encouragement to other youngsters desirous of playing baseball. It shows the boys playing the game that their elders are proud of them and desirous of cooperating in every way in helping them make good.

Legion baseball is giving coal region athletes a better opportunity to enter big league baseball than was ever presented heretofore. Looking back over the past 50 years, the Valley has made no contributions to the major leagues.

"Sonny" Andrews had a tryout with Connie Mack 40 or more years ago but you have to go away back to 1889 when Chris Fulmer hung up his spiked shoes to find the area’s only contribution to the big time circuit. Fulmer ended his big league career in 1889. He started with Providence in 1883 and was the battery mate of Matly Kilroy, still maintained by many to have been the best forkhander ever to pitch a baseball. He also handled the pitching of the one and only Charlie Radbourne, whose fame as a pitcher will endure as long as baseball endures.

Rube Waddell, visiting Coaldale 45 or more years ago, had every kid in town following in his footsteps. Playing a game of hand ball on the court adjoining the east ward school building, he attracted as many spectators as might have been drawn to an exhibition baseball game. The glamour of big league fame surrounded the eccentric Waddell, making his visit to Coaldale an occasion that lingers in boyhood memories. Today the doors of opportunity open wide for every youngster willing to work at the all absorbing task of making good in baseball. Definitely it is worth the effort and certainly Legion baseball deserves a greater measure of support than Coaldale has been giving it so far.

1950 will be observed as Connie Mack's Golden Jubilee. We can’t all go to Philadelphia to participate in the jubilee celebration but we can play a part in it by helping the Legion youngsters get off to a better start in the local baseball circuit. Eddie Neifert, chartering a special train to take every youngster playing baseball in Tamaqua to Shibe Park for a big league game gives Coaldale a pattern to follow. The Gene Ambrose dinner should be used as the spring board for the reviving of Coaldale baseball at its source, the boys of the community.