They were gamblers. They toiled with their blood, sweat, and tears. They were visionaries.
Most of all, they were just grateful to be a part of something that they loved - the Salt Lake Valley League American Legion Baseball Program.And the Salt Lake Valley League couldn't have continued its growth without them.
In 1993, the Salt Lake Valley League decided to honor them by inducting them into the first Salt Lake Valley League American Legion Hall of Fame. It was the league's way of saying simply, "thank you."
Last night, at the Salt Lake Valley League's annual All-Star game at Ken Price Park, 21 former managers, coaches, and backers were inducted into the Salt Lake Valley Hall of Fame.
Some of the inductees are deceased. Some of their faces are weathered now, aged by the years. Some of their stomachs are protruding over their waistlines.
But their desire and love for the game has never changed.
The following are the 1993 inductees, the first to ever be inducted:
KEN J. PRICE, "The Father Flanagan," of Legion baseball, Price was a philanthropist. He led Holladay Post 71 to three state championships. It was his vision which brought Ken Price Park to its present status.
KEN FARNSWORTH, Holladay Post 71, was Price's "Man Friday." He supported Price with the effort he put into the park.
VIRGIL "SULLY" SULLIVAN, Judge Memorial. Sullivan managed the Bulldogs in the 1950s to 1970s, and his financial efforts kept the club afloat. And without "Sully," not many Judge Memorial players would have been given the opportunity to play legion baseball.
CLARK CUSHING, Murray. Everyone respected Cushing's efforts in building Ken Price Park, while he was a Murray City councilman. He brought the Legion regionals to Ken Price Park in 1976 - the only time they have been played in Utah.
JACK BARRETT, East. Nothing ever got done with East's legion baseball efforts in the 1950s to 1970s without Barrett. With his backing, Salt Lake American Legion Post No. 1 was able to host the state legion championships several times.
HENRY MORI, Cyprus. Without Mori, Cyprus would not have had an American Legion team in the 1960s. Actually, with his efforts, Cyprus Post 38 hosted the state legion championships in 1963, and finished second to South.
BAILEY J. SANTISTEVAN, Bingham. Santistevan was the reason for the Miners' success in the 1940s and 1950s. Such players as Sonny Robertson, who later played for the Chicago Cubs from 1959-60, benefitted from his coaching efforts. One of the most successful coaches ever in Legion baseball.
HAROLD "HAP" GLENN, Granite Post 112. Glenn was the driving forced behind the Granite success in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
DONALD J. GUST, Bingham and Hillcrest. Gust learned by playing ball for the master - Santistevan. Gust knew only success coaching at such places as Morgan, Cyprus, and Hillcrest. He took over the Hillcrest program its first year, 1963, and built it into one of the most successful programs the state has ever had. He also served as the State American Legion Baseball Commissioner and Salt Lake Valley American Legion President. He is currently a scout for the Cincinnati Reds.
GEAN PlAGA, West. One of the most respected coaches in the history of prep football, baseball and Legion baseball in Utah. The Price native led West to three state Legion championships. He was a tough coach at a tough school.
BERNIE D. MORIARTY, Holladay Post 71. He coached both in the Salt Lake Amatuer Baseball League and the Salt Lake Vallley League. Moriarty was tireless in his legion efforts as state commissioner for nearly 10 years.
ANGELO CERRONI, Tooele. Cerroni loves to be called the "Godfather." That's because he has been the "Godfather" of legion baseball in Tooele for nearly 30 years. His 1967 team won the state championship. He has adjusted to whatever talent Tooele has had. His teams have either played long ball or inside baseball. Cerroni has probably been a legion coach longer than anyone in the nation. He is a scout for the California Angels.
LYNN PETT, Murray. Pett was the Murray Park superintendent during the time of the construction of Ken Price Park in the 1960s and 1970s. He supervised the growth of legion baseball in the Murray area. He continues to watch over the park as the Mayor of Murray. It is through Pett's cooperation that legion baseball is played at Ken Price Park.
DON MAYNE, West and Hillcrest. "Pappy" has been association with legion baseball for over 40 years. He played at West. But he also coached West, Highland, Skyline and Hillcrest among others. Mayne knows success. He is now serving as the Utah State American Legion Baseball commissioner.
JOHN CAPUTO, West and Judge Memorial. A great athlete in his prime and a former Utah State quarterback in the 1940s, Caputo played at West and later coached Judge. But his major contributions to legion baseball was his efforts as the groundskeeper at Ken Price Park for more than 20 years.
TONY STILINOVICH, Bingham. Stilinovich both played and coached at Bingham. His Miners won the state legion championship in 1974 with the Hardys - Bruce and Axel. Stilinovich also served six years as Salt Lake Valley League president for six years. He owns his own sporting goods store - Universal Athletic Supply.
BARRY SCEILI, Granite and Taylorsville. Sceili was a catcher on one of the greatest teams - Granite (1969) - to ever represent the state. His Granite team finished second in the 1969 regionals in Montana. He came back to coach Taylorsville to four American Legion state championships.
DARYL "SONNY" ROBERTSON, Bingham. Robertson was the only player in legion tournament history to be named the MVP for three straight years - 1952-54. He played major league baseball for the Chicago Cubs from 1959-60. He later returned to a solid backer in legion baseball with the Hillcrest program. His son, Billy, played at Hillcrest and in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization.
ALBERT "SONNY" SUDBURY, Cyprus and Bingham. People forget how dominating a pitcher and hitter Sudbury was from 1959-61 while playing for Cyprus. He was later drafted by the San Francisco Giants. He coached both Cyprus and Bingham's legion baseball programs. He coached Bingham to three straight 3A baseball championships - 1974-76. Worked with Stilinovich in assembling the Miners' successful legion teams in that era. His son, Craig, who played at Cyprus, is pitching in the Oakland A's organization.
DOUG HOWARD, Highland and Brighton. Howard was an outstanding player for Highland from 1964-66. He later played at BYU. He was the MVP of the Pacific Coast League with the Salt Lake Angels in 1971. He played major league baseball for five years with the California Angels and Cleveland. He returned to coach Brighton and its legion program. This year, Howard returned to coach the Bengals' legion team.Comment on this story
RONALD D. RUSHTON, Cyprus, Granger, Cottonwood, and Taylorsville. Rushton started his baseball career at Cyprus where he was one of the best athletes in the state. He later played at Snow College and Utah State. But Rushton is best remembered for his contributions to baseball programs at Granger, Cottonwood, and Taylorsville, where he was one of the best baseball coaches to ever coach in the state. He developed winning programs at all three schools. He won two state championships at Cottonwood and three at Taylorsville. He was a contributor to legion programs at all three schools. He coached legion ball for several years.