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Amazing Baseball LongevityPosted Friday, July 29, 2011, at 3:41 PM
A Bedford County man was a little upset when I called him Thursday. As it turned out he was losing pitcher in a baseball game earlier this week.
He had great expectations. After all, he had pitched shutouts in his previous two games. Poor guy.
Oh, I forgot to mention he's 74 years old.
Randall Crowell has an amazing baseball record in both performance and longevity. He's been playing in organized baseball leagues since he was "about 14."
Crowell, who plays twice a week with the Huntsville Astros in a 45-Over league there, said his first game in an organized league was in the Little Bigger League in Shelbyville. Games were played at what was then called U.S. Royal Park, later known as Uniroyal Park.
"I played for the U.S. Royals. Hixson Pugh was our coach and he was really a fine coach. We won the league with a perfect 9-0 record and I pitched all nine of those games," Crowell recalled after a look at his scrapbook. "That was in 1952."
Asked what pitches he now throws, Crowell laughed and replied, "Curves, whatever what I used to call my fastball I've got left and a few knuckleballs."
Actually, he has played with many teams in recent years. He's played with some friends from North Dakota and other areas in places such as California and Arizona.
One of his top games recently was pitching a no-hitter in Florida for a team out of San Diego last November.
Crowell pitched locally for the Shelbyville Golden Eagles, many games for the fine Halls Mill teams and college baseball with the University of Alabama as a walk-on with the freshman team in 1957 and then tranferred to the University of Tennessee and played for the Vols, first as a walk-on and then on scholarship the next three years. He was the ace of the Tennessee staff his senior year and pitched some great games.
"I have always been able to get the ball over the plate so I don't often walk a batter. That's been a big thing for me," said Crowell.
He could have added a few other skills. I've played both against Crowell and been a teammate. I've never seen anyone at any level who fields the ball better, and, he's always totally focused on the game.
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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette.