The Dynasty had continued. Police won
the World Series and every one that I
could remember. My 14-year old
girlfriend broke up with me for a guy
in Pony League andâ€¦a car. Oh, I
survived. I was Dormonster! Just like
all Dormonsters, you pick yourself up,
dust it off and move on. I ended up okay.
I was still a pretty good ballplayer and
even got a hit off Louie Pietosi in Pony
League. Actually, I had forgotten this
whole episode. Well, that was until that
S.O.B. Haney sent me these &%$&ing
I was friends with their star, Doug Haney. Doug had taught me how to hit home runs instead of the Punch & Judy variety
of hits that I was known for. He also let me in on a big secret. He told me, "Without fail, if Ricky Shearn gets ahead of
you no balls and two strikes, he will throw you a change-up."
So it is with this backdrop, that the Dormont Little League World Series of 1974 started. In the first inning, Police jumped
ahead of Hardware 3-0 after scratching a couple of hits and errors off of Perry. In the bottom of the first, Perry hit a
homerun to make it 3-2. Bubba Staab hit a two-run homer in the fourth, making it 5-2. After Perry's single and a screaming
double off of Nagy's bat, we had men on second & third when I came to bat.
I stepped into the box and began my Willie Stargell wind-up. I heard the umpire yell, "Strike one!" before I had finished
winding up. I thought to myself, "Wow, I didn't even see that pitch! I better start swinging earlier if I want to catch up
with Shearn's fastball." I swung at the next pitch as hard as I could. The ball was already being thrown back by the
catcher by the time I had completed my swing! "Strike two!" So now, Shearn had me by the count of 0-2.
I smiled a knowing smile...
|LITTLE LEAGUE DYNASTY
|Photos Donated By Douglas Haney
|1974 DORMONT POLICE LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
First Row : M. Anzelone, K. Cato, D. Macellaro, P. Diven, L. Harden, D. Caputo
Second Row: B. Shearn, J. French, K. Ottaviano, C. Loerlein, P. Tortarella, B. Good
Third Row : R. Shearn, B. Staab, D. Haney, J. Loerlein, L. Ottaviano
Coaches: Mr. Luebbe, Mr. Perl, Mr. Tortarella, Mr. Shearn
|The 1974 World Series Introductions
|World Series Stars
Doug Haney &
|Coach Harry Luebbe
& Star Pupil - Douglas Haney
|Police Celebrating Another
World Series Win!
|My Date With Destiny vs. The Dormont Police Dynasty
|The Dormont Police, their name had become synonymous with the word "Dynasty." This Little League baseball team
in Dormont had won the World Series as far back as anyone could remember. Fielding an every changing squad of
supernatural players that, year in and year out, would crush the dreams of aspiring talent relegated to other lesser
teams, they wouldn't just beat you but send you home crying to your mother. Their Coach, Harry Luebbe, had a unique
talent for drafting kids with raw skills and churn out Babe Ruths & Lou Gehrigs that dominated the field of twelve-year
olds. We used to make fun of Harry, with his pulled up to the sternum pants that ran short of his ankles. We used to
call him "High-Waisted Harry" and ask him when he was going back to Johnstown. But as one of his star pupils,
Doug Haney, had said, "Harry was a great guy. He wasn't like the rest of the Little League coaches, he taught baseball."
So, as it was, when I hit 12 years old, I had the chance to
change all of that. My team, Potomac Pharmacy, had
battled through the seasonal campaign and won a chance
to play the vaunted, hated Yanke...Dormont Police team.
We had the "Golden Boy," Greg Perry, as our star
pitcher. Greg threw a baseball like a BB through an
atom smasher. And, he was just wild enough to put the
fear of life into opposing batters. If Greg hit you with a
pitch, you were out of the game, and the next one too!
We had power from both sides of the plate with Rich
Nagy (10 Homers) from the right and yours truly
(6 Homers) from the left.
The Police, of course, had the Little League version of
Murder's Row and the Lumber Company combined.
Haney (47 Homers), Bubba Staab (22 Homers), Larry
Ottaviano (16 Homers), along with two or three others
that would have batted clean-up for most any other team.
Their 3-4-5 hitters had more homers than the rest of the
league combined! On top of that, they had a 1-2 punch
of pitchers that shut out more teams(ters) than the
Pinkertons! Ottaviano had a stellar year, winning every
game he pitched! However, it was Ricky Shearn that
dominated the league. Ricky's pitches rivaled Perry's
for speed but, he also had incorporated the Luebbe
approach of using mind games to cheat a hitter into
swinging at junk.
The stage was all set. On a clear, cool evening, under the lights,
people had crowded the stands and the perimeter fence of the
William "Pop" Murray Field for a World Series classic that was
unfolding. Phil's Sno-Cone Truck, that was parked in the right
field lot, had a break from doing his usual swift business. The
kids playing with the water at the fountain had stopped to watch
and my 14-year old girlfriend (Yes! 14!) who was perched behind
the fence behind home plate was cheering my name! I readied
myself for that fat balloon of a pitch that Doug had promised me!
And here it came! Doug was right! Ricky Shearn tossed me a
huge grapefruit of a pitch that defied gravity by traveling the 46
feet from the pitcher's mound to me at home plate so slow that it
should have just fallen to the ground. I leaned back and uncoiled
with the speed of a rattlesnake! My feet left my cleats and I
uncorked on that ball like Gallagher on a tomato! Smash!!!
The ball rose in the air like it was going interplanetary! High
above the lights it traveled at such a velocity that the spectators
all would need a chiropractor the next day! I begin my travel
around the bases on Cloud 9! Then, from behind me, I hear it
over the din of the swelling crowd...FOUL BALL!
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! It was over the fence!
That would have tied the game!! But, of course, I thought it might
be foul, and it was. It was, as Bob Prince would describe it,
"Foul, by a gnat's eyelash."
So even before I could hold back the well of tears at the thought
of my missed opportun...whoosh! "Strike three!" I slumped back
to the dugout, devastated. I was sobbing like someone who was
trying not to cry but, just ended up looking like I was sniveling.
My teammates cleared a whole eight feet of bench for me.
My irascible, bellicose, big, Teddy Bear of a Coach, Sam Simon,
looked at me and said the immortal words of Tom Hanks, twenty
years before Tom Hanks was even a star "There's no crying in
baseball! Pull it together!" Well I didn't and neither did our team.
The next inning, Haney hit a three-run homer and Bubba followed
with his second of the game and the rout was on. The final score
is lost in the mysts of time. And it better stay that way!