History of Sports

Wib and Reese Lichliter


Organized sports came into existence in the Salisbury area before 1900. Salisbury and small surrounding towns were booming because of the two major industries, lumbering and mining. The first baseball teams played mostly among themselves. One such team reached its peak through the period from about 1906-1912. The park was just north of town in what was known as Shaw's Grove. Some of the men who composed this team were: John House, Frank Brogan, "Dutch" House, John Harding, Bill Harding, "Fox" Deniker, Arthur Emerick (who could hit a ball a mile), "Hutch" Corbett and three pitchers, Joe Patterson, Sam Miller, and John Krausse.

In the twenties and thirties such names as "Drivey" Trent, Joe Diehl, "Toots" Robinson, and Dick Hickson came into the fore. Local teams continued to win records and pennants. Into the 1940's local teams were very successful. Teams were usually named the Cardinals, as they had been for over 30 years, and usually were entered in the Southern Somerset County League. During the 1950's the teams entered were: Grantsville, Addison, Confluence, Ohiopyle, Meyersdale, Garrett, Kingwood and Berlin. Rockwood and Keyser's Ridge having dropped out. Salisbury won the pennant in 1956 and 1957.

During the period up to 1961, there were two or three years when there was no South County League and Salisbury joined the Pen-Mar League. In this league the competition was greater and the best Salisbury could do was tie for fourth one season.

In 1960 the young ball players of the town were organized into the "Lightning Nine" and entered into the South County League. They won only 5 of 32 games that season, but started to jell in the next and after a start of six straight losses, won 18 of the next 24 games, for an 18-14 record.

Front row:  Harry Farner, Diz Farner, "Bugs" Farner, Garfield Thomas, Jim Diehl, "Gumpy" Wright
Middle Row: Rex Reckner, "Hen" Oester, Jim Durst, Paul Fullem, "Toots" Robinson, Wayne "Kelly" Engle, Carl Baer
Back Row: Bob Brown, Jack Hickson, Mike Hillegas, Earl "Drivey" Trent, Don Newman, Walter Weise, John Lichvar, Dick Hickson
Boys in back: Paul Hutzell, Unknown, Unknown

"Lightning Nine" Remembered by Lawrence Allison

"After W.W.II the American Legion had a championship baseball team from 1947 -50. Then along came the "Lightning Nine" led by one of the most unique people I've ever met. Readers Digest used to have a Most Unforgettable Character series, this man would be mine, his name was Dale Hoffman, everyone called him, "Huff". He organized the team, managed the team, played and paid for much of the equipment out of his own pocket, all the while fighting Hodgkin's disease. He took a bunch of High School kids, sand lot players, and made them into a Champion baseball team. He never complained, always laughed and joked. He was loved by everyone. Sadly, he later succumbed to his illness. Although we had little talent or power, we played and won with heart."

Back left to right
Jim Brown, June “Chief” Thomas, Dale Hoffman, Jack Wagner, Steve Wright, Harold Nicholson, Rex Reckner, James "Chappie" Fisher, Earl "Junie" Bodes, Ed Davis, Bob Brown, Robert Simpkins, Andy Kilminer
Front left to right
Bugs Farner, Shad Herring, Garf Thomas, Diz Farner, Peanut Brown, Ken Morgan, Bob Housel, Irv Morgan
Bat Boy  Duayne George

Additional information requested
(larger scan of this photograph click here)
photograph donated by the Margie Goetz, widow of Dale Hoffman


History of Basketball

Charles "Rip" Engle

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