1926 Junior World Baseball Champions
In 1926, the Yonkers Recreation Department under its superintendent, James F. McCrudden, who announced it would field a team in the Junior Worlds Baseball Championship and issued a call for candidates, ages 14 to 16 years. Cook Post No. 321 of the American Legion accepted the sponsorship of the team, popularly labeled the “Recs,” and turned the organization, development and coaching of the squad over to William T. “Bill” Grieve, who later became an American League umpire for 18 years. The Cook Post Commander, James “Jimmy” Arbuckle, and Fred Kampfer, chairman of the Post baseball committee cooperated with Coach Grieve in writing a real chapter in local and national baseball history.
75 boys from all parts of the City underwent a strenuous three- weeks training period before final cuts and final selections were made. The Cook Post purchased new uniforms and equipment and the Yonkers nine girded for the N.Y. State Championships at Mohansic State Park. A series of victories over several weeks of competition ensued and the “Recs” were chosen to represent the Empire State in the national competition. At Belmar, New Jersey, they eliminated Passaic, 11-5, and then went to South Field, N.Y. to move up a notch by trouncing Rhode Island’s entry, 7-1, a no hit game pitched by right hander Ray House. The closet call was a ten inning victory 12-11 victory over Rutland, the champions of Vermont. Wilmington, representing the state of Delaware, was ousted handily, 7-1, and the Yonkers youngsters found themselves in the finals of the national competition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Here Springfield, Ohio, was trounced, 9-2, and the same afternoon Eldorado Kansas, was shellacked, 18-1. City civic political and recreational leaders journeyed to the City of Brotherly Love to sit in on the final fray against Pocatello, Idaho, and Yonkers newspapers ran a play-by-play account of the contest with large score-by-innings bulletins in the window. By sheer batting power and strange pitching by Maurice O’Brien, Yonkers overpowered their opponents, 26-6, and brought home a World’s Baseball Championship. A city-wide parade headed by Monroe Williams A. Walsh plus a dull complement of city officials welcomed the champions on their return home.
More than 1,000 of the top junior team had taken part in the competition. A record of the Yonkers squad’s achievement in inscribed in Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown N.Y.
Members of the championship team included: Mary O’Brien, Joe Fitzgerald and Ray House, pitchers; George Goodwin and John Ferris, catchers; Jeff McDonald, first base; Francis”Banky” Leahy, second base; Norbett “Bass” Landy, shortstop; Johnny Dauterman, third base, John “Babe” McCormick, ArtyBrill, John “Ruzz” Figura and Patty Leahy, outfielders.