I am dedicating a portion of my writing this year to Louisiana Baseball. Reason is;
1. I was born in Louisiana, but now live in Texas so feel compelled to give my home state some love.
2. I have 3 nephews playing high school baseball in Louisiana with aspirations of playing after high school.
3. Louisiana is the sportsman paradise for its abundance of hunting and fishing opportunities and is known for its “Swamp People” as portrayed by the hit television series and famous comedian/chef Justin Wilson. Only in Louisiana does Justin Wilson become “Justone Wilsewn”. What you may not know is Louisiana is a HOT BED for baseball.
Time Out Time Out!
Before I began talking about Louisiana baseball, I need to share something with y’all as a sports fan. This isn’t Louisiana and it isn’t baseball. What happen a few days ago in Texas High School Sports needs to be celebrated. The Cuero Gobblers won the Class 4A Division II Football State Title in part to a MVP with emphasis on MVP performance, by University of Texas signee, Jordan Whittington. The all-time 4A title game rushing record was 311 yards set in 1978, Nineteen – Seventy – Eight, that’s 40 years ago, by NFL Hall of Fame Running Back Eric Dickerson of Sealy. Whittington rushed for 334 yards on 28 carries to lead Gobblers over Texarkana Pleasant Grove 40-28. Whittington not only now owns the 4A rushing record, but the overall 11-man record set by Aledo’s Johnathan Gray in 2010 rushing for 325 yards vs LaMarque. In a post-game interview Whittington said “It’s overwhelming but all the credit goes to God, the team, and the fans and without them I wouldn’t be able to do it. Congrats to Jordan Whittington and best of luck to him at UT in Austin, Texas.
Highlight of Whittington’s Performance from Fox Sports Southwest
Now Back to Louisiana Baseball.
I love baseball and I love history and I think it helps to know those that came before you. Gives you an appreciation for the game and its ability to stand the test of time. A mutual respect for the player(s) that persevered in a time where mere survival wasn’t easy. In this case I’m going way back way back to where it all started. Baseball was predominately a game confined to the state of New York. Soldiers of the Civil War brought baseballs home with them and soon the game became widespread. What we know today as the National League was formed in 1871 as the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) and remained such until 1875. The Philadelphia Athletics was the 1871 Champion while the Boston Red Stockings won the title from 1872 – 1875. In 1876 the association changed its title to the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. One of the Pioneers of Louisiana Baseball is John Peters. April 8th, 1850 John Peters was born in New Orleans. Lived his childhood through the Civil War.
As documented by Baseball Reference, May 23rd, 1874 John Peters made his debut as Short Stop for the Chicago White Stockings of the NAPBBP as the 220th player to sign with the NAPPB now a division of Major League Baseball. Peters at age 24 years and 54 days is the first Louisiana born to make it to the SHOW. Peters was the everyday short stop for the 1876 Pennant Winning White Stockings in their first year as part of the National League. The stockings boasted a 52-14 record, that’s .788-win percentage. Equates to 127 wins in todays 162 game season. WOW! A few of Peters 1876 teammates were HOF Catcher Deacon White, Batting Title Champion Ross Barnes, Al Spalding, yes, the founder of Spalding sporting goods, (Goodbye Mr. Spalding, the famous homerun call in the movie “The Natural”), Cal McVey and Cap Anson. Peters finished 4th for the batting title in 1876 hitting .351 behind teammate Ross Barnes hit .429, George Hall hit .366 and teammate Cap Anson hit .356. How cool of a year it must have been for those guys that summer. Winning the pennant and celebrating the country’s 100th birthday.
Left to Right: John Peters, Al Spalding, Ross Barnes, Cap Anson, Deacon White, Cal McVey
Peters in his hay day was great with the bat and the glove. Peters lead the league in put outs in 1879 with 280 and 1880 with 277. Peters played 11 seasons for 5 teams, the White Stockings, the Milwaukee Grays, the Providence Grays, the Buffalo Bison’s, and the Pittsburgh Allegheny’s finishing his MLB career in Pittsburg June 11th, 1884 at age 34 years and 64 days. But like plenty professional athletes Peters was not ready to put up his spikes. Peters played for 2 minor league organizations following up his release from Pittsburg, Springfield Illinois of the Northwestern League and Stillwater Minnesota of the Northwestern League.
Peters’ stats for his career:
WAR 13.7 AB 2693 Runs 373 Hits 748 Batting Avg .278
About half of Peters playing career was with the Chicago White Stockings. The White Stockings kept that name until 1889 and eventually became the Chicago Cubs. So, the first Louisiana born player to play in the MLB was a member of the Chicago Cub Franchise.
John Peters died January 4th, 1924 at the age of 73 years and 271 days in St. Louis, Missouri and is buried at the Old St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.
Pretty cool stuff, I think on my next trip to St. Louis I will try to find his grave and pay it a visit!
Following Peters other Louisiana born players to make it to the SHOW is 255 with 5 making it to the Hall of Fame, Center Fielder/Right Fielder Willard Brown of Shreveport, Catcher Bill Dickey from Bastrop, Pitcher/Right Fielder Ted Lyons from Lake Charles, Mel Ott played All 3 outfield positions, 2nd Base and 3rd base from Gretna, Pitcher Lee Smith from Jamestown. Most recent Louisiana native to make it to the SHOW is Short Stop Blake Trahan born in Lake Charles went to High School in Kinder, college at University of Louisiana Lafayette, MLB with the Cincinnati Reds. Each episode this season I will feature a Louisiana player from the past and present.
Left John Peters Photo Baseball Almanac Right Blake Trahan Photo MLB Cincinnati Reds
I hail from St. Amant, Louisiana a rural area in Ascension Parish between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Many locals refer to the area as Duck Roost. Hence the “Swamp People” stereotype I was referring to earlier. The most notable Baseball Player coming out of St. Amant is Pitcher Ben Sheets. Went on to pitch at University of Louisiana Monroe, the 2000 USA Olympic Team Gold Medal while pitching a complete game 3 hit shutout against Cuba, followed by a great MLB career including the Milwaukee Brewers Wall of Honor.
St. Amant High School Players to have their names called in Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft held annually in June:
Short Stops:Brady Babin 9th round by the Florida Marlins, Kim Batiste 3rd round by the Philadelphia Phillies, Reid Brignac 2nd round to Tampa Bay Rays, Andy Sheets went to Louisiana State then to Seattle Mariners in the 4th round, Jason Williams went to Louisiana State then to the Cincinnati Reds in the 16th round.
Pitchers: Ben Sheets went to University of Louisiana Monroe then to Milwaukee Brewers in the 1st round, Rob Bergeron Rookie Ball with the Salt Lake City Trappers, Brad Delatte went to Nicholls University then Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round, Jeremy Robinson went to Northwest Florida then to Tampa Bay Rays 47th round, Jordy Templet went to University of Louisiana Lafayette then to Toronto Blue Jays in the 17th round, Wade Walker went to University of Louisiana Monroe then to Chicago Cubs in the 16th round, Blayne Enlow 3rd round to the Minnesota Twins.
Catcher: Joe Lewis went to Louisiana State and San Jacinto then to San Diego in the 3rd round.
Third Base: Casey Lambert went to Alabama then to Colorado in the 24th round.
Infielder: Rick Haydel to University of Louisiana Lafayette then to Arizona Diamondbacksi n the 11th round.
Highlights of the 4 St. Amant Players Making it to the SHOW
Andy Sheets https://www.facebook.com/walbeckbaseballacademy/videos/1263649250371074/
Ben Sheets https://youtu.be/_3jyoakkekA
Reid Brignac https://youtu.be/07Mvy3v1O0c
Most recent St. Amant draftee out of high school is Blayne Enlow selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 June amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins. Many viewed Enlow as first round quality but many teams weren’t sure they could sign Enlow due to his commitment to LSU. The Twins took a chance in the 3rd round and offered Enlow a signing bonus equal to a much higher draft slot selection. Enlow is in his second season of Minor League Baseball. Other baseball players from St. Amant High School to play at the collegiate level, Brandt Boudreaux, Scott Boudreaux, Chris Bourgeois, Wet Delatte,Matt Delaune, Gary Duhe, Dexter Fontenot, Larson Fontenot, Brennan Grant, Eddie Hymel, Justin Manton, Mickey Martinez, Nathan McCorkle, Madison Nickens, Ivan Prejean, Adam Sevario, Austin Tanner, Derrick Townsend, Dustin Weaver, Jorda Young III.
Previous St. Amant coach Bob Lemon won state titles in 1993, 94,95 and 2004. Current St. Amant Coach now in his 7th season is Troy Templet reaching the state quarter finals 4 of the last 6 years. Other high schools in Ascension Parish with great success is Dutchtown in Geismar lead by Coach Schexnaydre, won state in 2004 and quarter finals in 2018 and East Ascension won state in 2003, now coached 1 year by Kade Kowen. 2018 making it to the Bi District round.
Trivia on St. Amant Baseball, the inaugural season was spring of 1979 yours truly (Glynn Parent Jr) varsity catcher as a sophomore. Two sport All American Billy Cannon Jr of Broadmoor tagged up from 2nd base attempting to score on a foul ball hit to the warning track in right field. We relayed him out at the plate, but he rolled me like a bowling ball down the lane headed for the pins. I showed the ball to the ump like Pudge Rodriguez did in 2003 with the Miami Marlins vs San Francisco Giants play to end the NLDS. I don’t know what it looked like, but this is what it felt like.
How ironic is it that this play is a San Francisco Giant taking out the catcher, and this play is no longer allowed by Major League Baseball when Giant Catcher Buster Posey was injured by a similar play when Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins tagged up on 3rd on a shallow fly ball.
Little more St. Amant Baseball Trivia, Spring 1980 St. Amant makes the post season for the first time. I as the lead off batter drew a walk to lead off the first making me the first St. Amant Gator Post Season Base Runner. All that and 50 cents use to get you a cup of coffee. Now you need more like $1.50 to go with that story to get convenience store coffee. Hint, keep the story to yourself if you really want that cup of coffee. Clerk likely think you’re crazy and ask you to make like a tree and leave.
Next episodes we will dig into what many say is the hottest bed of Louisiana Prep Baseball players and that is Calcasieu Parish. Home of Barbe High School in Lake Charles under the leadership of Coach Cecchini, Sulphur High School in Sulphur and Sam Houston in Moss Bluff. In 2010 Barbe High School had 3 players selected in the June Amateur Draft. In the same area is college McNeese State having 2 players selected in the 2010 draft.
According to NOLA.com 33 players were drafted in the 2018 amateur draft with ties to Louisiana. I will reduce that number to 27 players drafted that were in Louisiana High Schools or in Louisiana Colleges due to 6 of those NOLO.com draftees are from out of state high schools that were LSU signees.
Road Worthy Games MLB – NCAA – High School
With the Houston Astros making the playoffs and winning the 2017 World Series and predicted to win the AL West in 2019 along with LSU receiving a preseason ranking of #1 in NCAA Division I Baseball every game the Geaux ‘Stros of Houston and Geaux Tigers of LSU play will be road worthy. I will pick a few and list them below. In high school there is a lot of parity. Anytime there is a match up between the Ascension Parish Schools; St. Amant, East Ascension and Dutchtown along with Baton Rouge area schools Catholic High, Central and Zachary or the Calcasieu Parish Schools mentioned above those games are ROAD WORTHY!
February 28th (Thursday) Texas 4A Semi Finalist Jasper vs Barbe High School in Lake Charles
March 14th-16th- (Thursday-Saturday) Sulphur Tors Host Tournament of Louisiana High Schools Finest Baseball Teams.
May 8th-11th (Wednesday-Saturday) LHSAA State Baseball Tournament
February 23rd (Wednesday) Baton Rouge CC travels to Decatur, MS to Play NJCAA Div 1 Preseason Ranked # Wallace St CC Hanceville, AL
March 15th & 17th (Friday & Sunday) Baton Rouge CC travels to Eunice, LA to Play NJCAA Div 2 Preseason Ranked #1 LSU-E Eunice, LA
March 16th (Saturday) Baton Rouge CC host NJCAA Div 2 Preseason Ranked #1 LSU-E in Baton Rouge Pete Goldsby Field
April 3rd (Wednesday) NJCAA Div 1 Preseason Ranked #6 Cisco Wranglers of Cisco, TX travel to Waco to Play DH NJCAA Div 1 Preseason Ranked #10 McLennan Highlanders
April 6th (Saturday) NJCAA Div 1 Preseason Ranked #6 Cisco Wranglers of Cisco, TX host a DH vs NJCAA Div 1 Preseason Ranked #10 McLennan Highlanders
April 12th & 14th (Friday & Sunday) Baton Rouge CC host NJCAA Div 2 Preseason Ranked #1 LSU-E in Baton Rouge Pete Goldsby Field
April 13th (Saturday) Baton Rouge CC travels to Eunice, LA to Play NJCAA Div 2 Preseason Ranked #1 LSU-E Eunice, LA
February 15th-17th (Friday-Sunday) Preseason Ranked #14 University of Texas travels to Lafayette to play a 3 game series vs #38 Ranked University of Lafayette.
February 25th (Wednesday) LSU travels to Natchitoches to play 2018 Southland Conference Champs Northwestern.
May 21st-26th SEC Conference Tournament in Hoover, Alabama Home of AA Birmingham Barons
May 23rd-26th Southland Conference Tournament in Sugar Land, Texas
May 31st-June 2nd NCAA Regionals
June 7th-9th NCAA Super Regionals
MLB – Games in Houston
April 5th Friday Home Opener vs the 97 games winner Oakland A’s
April 8th-10th Monday-Wednesday New York Yankees
April 25th-28th Thursday-Sunday AL Central Champs Cleveland Indians
May 24th-26th Friday-Sunday 2018 WS Champs Boston Red Sox
May 27th-29th Monday-Wednesday Chicago Cubs
June 11th-12th Tuesday-Wednesday NL Central Champs Milwaukee Brewers
July 5th-7th Friday-Sunday Los Angeles Angles Mike Trout
August 23rd-25th Friday-Sunday Los Angeles Angles Mike Trout
September 20th-22nd Friday-Sunday Los Angeles Angles Mike Trout