Coach Chip Henderson’s Calhoun Yellow Jacket baseball team recently won their third state championship in the past 11 years. The story has been reported well and the event of 2010 will become a matter of history with many other events of the past.
It is one of those events of the past to which attention will be given in the column today.
Let us reach back 36 years to the year 1974 for an accomplishment by a coach and a group of young men who have now come of age and made their mark on life in other areas with the passing of years.
Time has a way of relegating outstanding events of the past to a position as it had never happened. It ought not to be but it is.
So it was with Coach Phil Robbins’ Calhoun Jackets winning the baseball championship in that 1974 year. Recently, I have read articles in newspapers in three different cities saying Calhoun was battling for their third baseball championship. Really, it was the fourth.
Let me bring you up to speed as the saying goes. Coach Hamp Alexander had come to Calhoun in 1967 and immediately took the CHS basketball and baseball programs to a prominent level in North Georgia and the state. This he did while also coaching the backfield in football.
In the fall of 1972 Shorter College came calling and lured Coach Alexander to head up their baseball and basketball programs. Again, Coach Alexander put outstanding teams on the court and field for his tour of duty at Shorter.
You might know Phil Robbins as superintendent of Gordon County Schools. So he was before his retirement a few years ago. He replaced Coach Alexander as coach of both basketball and baseball in the 1972-73 school year. He had posted outstanding careers in the 1960’s at Calhoun in both those sports before heading to Berry College to play baseball.
After going undefeated during the regular season in 1973, Coach Robbins boys had to play a tournament to win the region championship and advance to the state. They did that and were later defeated by North Fulton in the playoffs.
Now bring on 1974 and Coach Robbins assisted by Larry Harmon (who later became superintendent of Calhoun City Schools) took a group of kids appropriately referred to as the Cardiac Kids on a journey thought impossible at the time.
They were the Cardiac Kids because of winning several games in the playoffs in the seventh inning by the identical score of 7-6.
You will recognize the names of these fellows, kids at the time, who are now in their middle 50’s. Many are still around Calhoun. Most have accomplished much in their lives.
I will begin with Gary Lewis who both caught and pitched. Late in the season he had outstanding performances to become a large factor in the championship run. Then there was Ricky Robbins pitcher and shortstop. Terry Whitfield joined these two fellows on the mound. Tommy Holden played first base; Keith “Streeter” Smith was at second base; Freddie Holland was the third baseman; Tony Timms played left field with Stuart French in center and Scott DeFoor in right field. Billy Hughey was the designated runner. Dennis Miller, Randall Bell, Gene Greeson Ricky Hollingsworth, Mike Stamey and Al Edwards rounded out the roster.
Those coaches and kids defeated Westover in Albany in a three game set to win the first of Calhoun’s four state baseball championships.
Time has indeed marched on and the beat that began 36 years ago continues.