Looking Back: Franklin County’s history June 15th

Franklin County’s history

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on June 15th.

25 Years Ago

June 15, 1996 – Saturday

“Golden Days of Yesteryear”

Franklin County's history June 15th
A plaque denotes the dedication of Fayetteville Memorial Athletic Field. The 1947 team, pictured above, was the first fielded by the Fayetteville Athletic Association.

To listen to Fayetteville’s Max Slike, Dutch Brookens ,and Kenny Oyler tell old baseball stories, you’d think you were actually sitting in the 1940s watching an old Fayetteville Adult League game.

Franklin County's history June 15th
Dutch Brookens, father of former major leaguer Tom Brookens and a member of the 1947 Fayetteville team, displays a 1940s-style catchers mitt at left in comparison to today’s model, which he holds at right

Vivid memories of yesteryear are just as clear to these three as if they were once teen-agers as if they were once again teen-agers playing sandlot baseball back in the “Pines.”

For sure, more baseball stories will be flying around next Saturday at the 50th anniversary celebration the Fayetteville Athletic Association (F.A.A.).

The historic day will begin with a parade, which will start at 12:15 p.m. at Fayetteville Elementary School and end at the baseball field.  At 1 p.m. there will be a rededication  of the baseball field with guest speaker state Rep. Jeff Coy. At 2 p.m. there will an Old Timers baseball game with rolled-back prices at the concession stand, and p.m. will be a Fayetteville AA’s adult league game.  Also starting at 10 a.m. and running through the entire day will be a memorabilia show that will feature old Fayetteville Adult League uniforms, pictures, trophies, etc.   

Two years ago, current F.A.A. President John Miller knew the 50-year anniversary was coming up, so he and a committee of volunteers got together to go over ideas for the celebration.  

“We kind of just tossed around a few ideas of what to do,” said Miller, who has been president since 1989.  

Tom Brookens, the FAA vice president, said they wanted to pattern the day’s events as if they had happened 50 years ago.

“We kind of knew what we wanted when we first started talking about this,” Brookens said.  “We wanted to have a parade and sort of rope it out from there. We’re hoping to spark some people.  Coming down here was what people used to do all the time, but it’s sort of died off a little bit so we’re hoping to get the people back involved.  Ever since I was little I spent my whole life down here.”

“We’re kind of just going to retrace the steps of what they did back then,” Miller said.  “The one nice thing about this day will be that it allows a lot of the guys to reminisce about the good old days.”

The FA.A. organized in 1946 when a group of baseball-minded men met in Oyler Brothers grocery store in Fayetteville. The

F.A.A. purchased the old Nursery Tract (the current grounds of the F.A.A.) from C.C. Reber that year to construct a baseball field, which sits directly behind the Fayetteville fire hall.

On July 4, 1947, the first Fayetteville Adult League team took the baseball field against the Waynesboro American Legion.  That day began with the baseball field being dedicated in memory of the veterans of all wars from the community. The field was named Fayetteville Memorial Athletic Field.

Dutch Brookens and Slike both played on that first FA.A. baseball team, which was managed by Wayne Sprow.

Chambersburg Trojan baseball coach Bob Thomas was the bat boy for the 1948 Twilight League championship team, and he was a member of the 1956 Franklin County Adult League team along with Tank Bender and Jack Mull.

Slike, a former minor-league pitcher, still has quite a collection of things from when he played, including a clipping from a 1955 Public Opinion which chronicled Slike’s no-hitter in Fayetteville’s 5-0 win over Dutch AC in the Franklin County championship tournament.

“Back then everyone was real competitive against each other,” Slike said.  “A lot of guys were coming home from the war and all they wanted to do was play baseball.  Back then we didn’t have as many distractions, like TV or other things.”

Dutch Brookens played for the adult league team for a few years, but he didn’t get to play as long as he would’ve liked because of an ankle injury.

“Back then baseball was the only entertainment we had,” Brookens said.

“Nowadays they have tractors and everything else to get the fields ready, but back then we thought we were big stuff when we’d get them ready with just rakes and shovels.”

Oyler never played adult league baseball, but his family members were among the founders of F.AA.  

“I just stayed to the sandlot baseball,” Oyler said.  “I never really got interested in the adult leagues.  The biggest changes I’ve seen over the years down here is the amount of teams using the fields.

“When we first started out we only had this one field and now we have four.”  

The Fayetteville AA’s have been a constant factor in local baseball since that time.

They have helped form or have participated in the following adult baseball leagues: Blue Ridge League, Chambersburg Twilight League, Washington County League, and Franklin County Adult League.

The F.A.A. has seen four members of its teams — Ike Brookens (Detroit Tigers), Tom Brookens (Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians), John Fierro (team trainer for the Chicago Cubs) and Jack Mull (former Class AAA manager of San Francisco Giants and current manager of Cleveland Indians Class A team) — listed on major league rosters.

50 Years Ago

June 15, 1971 – Tuesday

“Fly-Up Ceremonies”

Franklin County's history June 15th

Members of Brownie Troop 834 and Junior Girl Scout Troop 56, who received fly-ups, are, front row, from left, Nancy Yonkers, Carla Drawbaugh, Michele Ritchey; second row. Regina Avard, Sherry Stake, Laurie Raifsnider, Teresa Stull, Lisa Errion: third row. Susana Ramirez, Paula Errion, June Purvis, Teresa Baughman and Susan Snyder. Absent when picture was taken were Paige Benchoff. Kelly Lonergan, Carol Brandt and Sharon Powell.

100 Years Ago

June 15, 1921- Wednesday

“Summer Rummage Sale”

 Chambersburg – Another big opportunity for bargains!  The Wilson College Club of Chambersburg will hold a rummage sale of spring and summer garments of all kinds at the market house, Friday afternoon, June 17, at 2 o’clock.   Bring rummage to the market house on Friday morning.

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