The Saturday during the Amelia Earhart Festival is known for its traditional events, most famously the “Concert in the Sky” fireworks show over the Missouri River.
However, there is another event that occurs on that Saturday, with this year marking the ninth annual Dale Campbell Atchison Legion Alumni Game played at Atchison High School. Campbell was an Atchison business man and great supporter of legion baseball. It makes perfect sense to hold the alumni game in his honor.
Past players took the field Saturday morning, their best playing days behind them — far, far behind them in some cases. There were no umpires, no uniforms and no three-out rule. Each inning, the batting team went through their lineup and then the teams switched sides after the last man batted. The two “opposing teams” even shared the same dugout.
There were boasts, brags and burns. There was a challenge set forth to hit a particular truck in the gravel parking lot beyond the outfield fence. Of course, nobody came close to that target. Andrew Campbell had the best shot of the day, hitting a drive that crashed halfway up the outfield fence.
Generally, a hustling player is rewarded for his efforts. That wasn’t the case Saturday. Brad Holder hit a ground ball and sprinted down the first base line but clipped the foot of Terrance Jordan II and tumbled to the ground. No injuries were reported.
The pitchers stood behind an L screen with their goal to put something hittable in the zone. Fielders turned double plays and, at times, potential base hits were swallowed up by a six-man outfield.
Not once did anybody ask about the score of the game.
After four, maybe five innings — an hour of gameplay — the teams called it a day. The jovial group met at the pitcher’s mound for a group picture and a short speech from Dave Hager. Next year will be the 10th annual alumni game and it would be great to have an even larger group take the field.
All past A’s baseball players are invited to attend next year when the game will be, as always, on the Saturday during the Amelia Earhart Festival.