Softball, 1952

In the post where I was worrying about the golf course I used this aerial shot to illustrate where the long hedge slanted across the field from the dorms towards the old stadium:

Aerial July3 1956

Note that there are two different ball fields visible. The one to the left of the hedge was where the boys played (including the SWC baseball team) and the even sadder little one on the right was for the girls. Here’s some action from gym class about four years before the aerial was taken. There’s a great look at the long hedge as well as the (presumably) laundered and sterilized official gym suit. I think she looks pretty good in it.

Softball 2

I’m even more interested in this next one:

Softball 3

Is that a drinking fountain next to the bush by the third base line?

Bonus: Just by way of warning, I’ve recently conceived a passion for drinking fountains.


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13 Responses to Softball, 1952

  1. effegee says:

    That does appear to be a fountain — painfully close to the playing field.

    I recall a similarly shaped fountain along a walkway in the vicinity of the playing fields and gym around 1969-70. Wasn’t on my usual track to the gym along the road by the tennis courts. Seems like there was another walkway south of the tennis courts.

  2. nburch2 says:

    In the late 50s, we played softball on a field where the now demolished Jake Hess Tennis Stadium stood. There also was a field between the gym and the old tennis courts shown in the photo.

  3. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    If one enlarges the first pic, he can see the “E” -shaped North (or Weiss) Hall, which has been demolished.
    Now if one notes the proximity of the batter’s box in the adjacent baseball field, to North Hall and to the tennis courts, one can realize how high foul balls in those directions could be hazardous to occupants of those areas. It was quite a sight to watch a high foul ball hit straight back over the batting backstop come down on the concrete walkways around the first or second floors of North Hall. Such fouls would then bounce a third or more as high as the foul ball had been.
    (Of course, John Wolda’s fouls would bounce even higher, inasmuch as he hit them so much higher — or so he claimed.)

  4. John Wolda says:

    First of all, Gene Pratt is a great “story” teller. I never hit a ball that far. Our baseball field was not that much better than the small field. No fence,no press box, no scoreboard in our early years. After those were completed a sports writer said the only thing that didn’t improve was the team. Never did like him. Also note that the softball home plate is backwards.

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      There was NO outfield fence. There was a low hurricane fence separating the crowd from the infield area, to protect the players all four of the spectators.
      We were NOT very good.
      However, John Wolda was credited with ALL our wins — both of them.

  5. Tommy LaVergne says:

    Is it true that the trees behind center field were “In Play”? I recall speaking to a former baseball player who played on that field and he told me that the outfielders would have to search for the balls and also that if a ball was hit on the fly up into the trees, you could catch it for an out if lucky.

  6. loki_the_bubba says:

    Fountains are a good obsession. Perhaps a comprehensive visual list of all of the drinking fountains should be made…

  7. John Wolda says:

    The fence was installed in 1955. In 1954, Joe Wylie hit a line drive down the 1st baseline that rolled all the way to Autry Gym, about 500 ft for a homer. Also the ball was in play in the trees and don’t remember any deflected balls caught off the trees.

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      I remember balls hit in the “alley” between the left and center fielders rolling all the way to the hedge line.
      I believe it was slightly downhill in that direction; it sure seemed like it if one had to retrieve and throw a ball in from out that way!

      Interestingly, as John Wolda will recall, the Texas U. baseball stadium had a small mesa out in center field –perhaps 20-25 feet high, with goats grazing up there. I remember watching, from center field, as left fielder Bill Trotter, 1956, chased up the incline to the top to retrieve a ball. Undoubtedly, Wolda was pitching although he will probably deny it.

  8. Pingback: Gym Class for Girls, 1920s | Rice History Corner

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