At the PONY Baseball and Softball International Headquarters, every piece of PONY Baseball and Softball history has a story to tell. From game-used uniforms, to baseballs, photographs and more, the history of the PONY League World Series is enshrined right here. Help us grow our museum by keeping the past a part of our future. If you have PONY Baseball and Softball sports memorabilia that you would like to donate and have displayed here or you would like to share your favorite memories, contact Kim Lemons at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Playing PONY makes impact on former World Series pitcher’s life
By Carson Fox, Intern
Though the nation of Canada is better known for its rich tradition in the sport of hockey, PONY baseball has had its roots in the The Great White North for decades. Despite not being represented at the PONY League World Series since 1970, Canada, specifically the province of British Columbia, was a powerhouse in the 1960s. Carnarvon (1968-69) and Richmond (1970) represented the province and nation during its three appearances in PONY League World Series history.
By 1969, Carnarvon had won back-to-back and nine out of the last 10 British Columbia Championships. One of Carnarvon’s finest PONY players at the end of the decade was pitcher Frank Dalziel, who, in the 1969 British Columbia Championships, struck out 17 batters and only allowed three hits during a two-game span.
“The fact that our whole team won was probably more important than striking people out,” said Dalziel. “We had some pretty good ballplayers back then.”
Dalziel remembers the days when, once school let out for the summer, his team used to practice twice a day to prepare for the tournament season and how fortunate he was to have a pitching coach who played in the New York Yankees’ system for awhile. He specifically recalled how much he learned thanks to the access of U.S. coaching at a baseball school he attended in Oliver.
“It was amazing,” said Dalziel. “We learned a pile of stuff. Pitchers had their pitching coaches and catchers had coaches, and there was an infield and outfield coach. It was all day, everyday for a week.”
After winning the British Columbia Championships and eventually the Western Canada Finals, in which Carnarvon beat the Saskatoon Red Sox 4-3 and 3-0, respectfully, Dalziel and his Carnarvon squad qualified for the 1969 PONY League World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Carnarvon’s first game of the PONY League World Series versus Caracas, Venezuela has gone down in the history books because of the famous pitching duel between Dalziel and Reinaldo Duran.
Dalziel (left) with PONY President Lew Hays (center) and Reinaldo Duran (right)
In the 62-year history of the PONY League World Series, no one has thrown a perfect game other than Duran. But what makes the feat even more extraordinary is that Duran did not receive the win! After the score was tied 0-0 going into the eighth inning, Duran had to relinquish pitching duties because he had reached the maximum innings pitched allowed for a game (seven). He finished the game with 10 strikeouts, allowed only one ball to be hit to the outfield and threw 55 total pitches.
Inning-by-inning, Dalziel matched Duran.
“I remember I was really nervous [when I took to the mound],” said Dalziel. “I gave up a scratch single, walked the bases loaded and struck out the next three. Back in the day, there were a lot of people in the stands. Once I settled down a bit and started to concentrate, then it was almost like I pitched a perfect game for the rest of the time I was out there.”
In seven innings, he struck out nine Venezuelans and didn’t allow a run. Unfortunately for Dalziel, his reliever Peter Michelen surrendered a run in the eighth inning, and Carnarvon was saddled with a loss. The team was ousted from the tournament after losing its next game to North Pittsburgh 5-0 in a game that Carnarvon made four errors in the field. Despite the early exit from the tournament, Dalziel has nothing but fond memories of Washington, Pennsylvania and the PONY League World Series.
“It was a chance of a lifetime for me, but the people in Washington, Pennsylvania and everyone tied in with the tournament were really fine people,” said Dalziel. “We were treated like kings.”
Experience lent itself well for Dalziel in 1970 at the Colt World Series, as his team was finally able to get over the hump and claim victory. In the first game for the team, which was under the banner of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, it defeated Tampa, Florida from the South Zone 3-2 in the first game of the World Series. Though, the team lost 6-11 to eventual champion Covina, California and then to Tampa 8-4, which eliminated the team from the tournament.
“By the time I made it into Colt, every single person had been to at least one World Series,” said Dalziel. “For some, it was their second, and for some, it was their third. We may not have been the most talented team on paper, but we were a team, and we worked really hard and everyone was pushing toward the same goal.”
After crossing the museum page online, Dalziel decided to donate memorabilia from his playing days to PONY, in part, because he wants to encourage kids, from all areas of the globe, to participate in baseball.
“I love baseball,” said Dalziel. “I still watch it all the time on television and go to local games.”
Dalziel said playing PONY baseball and enduring the dog days of practicing twice a day all summer, including participating in week-long baseball camps, has made him appreciate some of the things that he’s had later in life, but more so has helped him develop a successful work ethic.
“You need to have a goal, you need to set a goal, but then you have to work really hard to get that goal,” said Dalziel. “Nothing comes easy. [Playing PONY baseball] trained me well, basically, for the rest of my life. Anyone can make it to the World Series. You just have to work at it and stick to it.”
View Frank Dalziel's entire memorabilia collection below in our photo gallery.
WORLD SERIES JOURNEYMAN RETURNS TO LEW HAYS PONY FIELD
By Carson Fox, Intern
(Pictured from left to right) Richard Fischer, Wade Myers and Francis Connor enjoy a memorable morning at Lew Hays Pony Field.
Fischer, a 1970 PONY League World Series Champion, joined Myers and Connor on their way to the
Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association National Convention in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from Colorado, where they all reside.
Since participating on the 1970 PONY League World Series Champion Buena Park, California team, Richard Fischer moved on from the baseball diamond to the life of a military man.
He spent 32 years with the United States Army, serving overseas in Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia, among other fronts. While on a recent journey to the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association National Convention in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Fischer stopped by the PONY League International Headquarters with his “running buddies” Wade Myers and Francis Connor, who were also military veterans.
Fischer browsed through old Observer-Reporter articles about his championship squad, as his reminisced about his experiences. Though he admitted he was just one-for-two at the plate during the World Series, he recalled having a fantastic time because of the shenanigans he used to pull with his teammates.
He remembered the good times he used to have retrieving foul balls for snow cones and joking with the participating Michigan team. He also told the story of how he used to go down in the outfield bullpen and warm up, just so the radio announcers would speculate whether he was about to go in the game.
Fischer’s Buena Park, California team went 4-0 en route to the World Series title, beating Monessen, Pennsylvania; Marietta, Georgia; Oak Park, Illinois; and Cayce, South Carolina. In the Championship Game, Buena Park defeated Cayce 1-0.
After an enjoyable time at PONY HQ, I traveled with Fischer and his running buddies over to Lew Hays Pony Field, because Fischer had not been back to the place where his team went on that historic run in nearly 44 years. Fischer was in awe as he walked through the gates.
“Back in the day, to me, this looked like a Major League field,” said Fischer. “Even though I was just 14, I was so excited because the whole town used to come out.”
Fischer said his Buena Park team was like a gang because they were a tight knit group that just played for the love of the game. He said when they returned to California, each player received a congratulatory plaque from newly elected Governor and future President Ronald Reagan, and each player received a little PONY League World Series Championship Louisville Slugger bat that he still has to this day.
“We were celebrities for the summer,” said Fischer.
Fischer admitted this was a defining moment in his life. He and his teammates then split up to other high schools, and he even faced Buena Park’s World Series Championship Game starting pitcher in high school competition. Then he joined the military, started a family, and settled in Colorado.
After stopping for a pit stop on his way to the interstate, Fischer had one more word of thanks for the trip to Lew Hays Pony Field.
“With all the crazy happenings in the World right now,” said Fischer. “It was nice to get to spend 10 minutes reminiscing on the good old days.”
The Legends of Lufkin
By Kim Lemons, Secretary
In August 1957, a newly married coach by the name of George Loving brought a group of baseball players from Lufkin, Texas to Washington, Pennsylvania, for the PONY World Series. According to an article, Loving did a masterful job of motivating his players. This team would go on to win the PONY World Series, with Jerry Bob Register setting a World Series record of five individual homeruns. The legacy of the Lufkin team lives on here at the PONY Museum through the priceless treasures of our sports memorabilia.
Joe Lee Register, the brother of Jerry Bob Register, donated his brother’s team jersey to the PONY Baseball and Softball International Headquarters. We are also fortunate to have the game ball and trophies donated by Robbie Loving Driver, the widow of Coach Loving, and Loving’s glove, donated by his son, Lt. Com. Roger Loving.
Caldwells Recall '54 Championship
By Kim Lemons, Secretary
“PONY ‘Stars’ National Champions” – This was the headline of the Daily Republican newspaper on August 23, 1954, in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. A group of 13 and 14 year old PONY baseball players had triumphantly brought home the PONY World Series title to their town. Civic leaders and PONY officials praised the boys on their achievement both on and off the field.
Some 50 years later, David Caldwell and his wife Eileen stopped at the PONY Headquarters for a visit. David Caldwell spent the next hour regaling his fond memories of PONY baseball. He has since passed, but his memories and memorabilia live on here at the PONY Baseball and Softball Museum. His family donated his ball and bat, along with programs and pictures.