Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Little League Confidential

The Flint Journal ran a story on the Greater Flint Youth Baseball Program on July 13, 1978. Yes, that's thirty years ago. It featured the First Federal Savings team organized by player/coach Cathy Wylie, who was the primary reason we won quite a few games.

Even though I sometimes forget my own phone number, I remember this game. I had a horrible day at the plate, and resorted to bunting — with an aluminum bat — at the end. And, as the Journal so cheerfully points out, that plan didn't work out too well, either. I'm positive this was one of the few games we lost.

I remember Frank Manley, who umped the games, warning us not to look for walks. If you didn't swing away, you'd eventually get called out on strikes.

Here are the photos by David Frank that ran with the article. I've included the original cutlines.

Pitcher Cathy Wylie hums one to the plate under the watchful eye of Longfellow center supervisor Frank Manley III.

Brent Connell has time for a yawn but is surely ready for any screamer hit toward second base.

Gordon Young attempts to lay it down — bunt — and only fouls it off, but it's an art that many older players haven't mastered either.


  1. Where do I find good photos of Chevy in the Hole? I'm Thinking of pictures from the 60's to the 90's.


    PS I've been to Flint a few times now (I live in indianapolis), and the Farmers Market is quite nice. The cheese shop is great! PPS Found a supermarket near Davison and Center Rd (VG's, I believe). Very good place to find Koegel's products (they also sold some local brand of Coney topping in the deli, it wasn't Abbott's)

  2. Hey, you should mention Big John Steak & Onion. Those sandwiches are truly addictive. People talk about the Flint Coney, I'll take a Big John with banana peppers any day.

  3. the downfall of the american athlete starts with bunting. i wish the examiner would give up attempting to cover MLB and focus on little league teams in SF. well. that be beyond their abilities.

  4. Tom Wylie and I caught at Northern for "Wild" Bill Adams in '75. I'm guessing Cathy is his sister, maybe? Unfortunately, I didn't know him much off the field.


  5. Bunting in little league is shameful. I know it's a fundamental and all that, but you should be swinging for the fences at that age. They'll be plenty of time to be Brett Butler later in life.

  6. As a past umpire in the Flint Youth Baseball League in the late 80s and early 90s it is great to see Franky Manley standing behind the pitcher instead of behind the plate. Awesome laziness, just like me!!!

  7. KenR, indeed the same Wylie clan, including Tom, Bob, Jim, Mike, Jenny, Cathy, & Sue.

    I recall Cathy was last trying to make the 04 olympic softball squad, and almost did. She was always the best athlete in the old neighborhood, no disrespect, bunt boy.

  8. Please, feel free to disrespect Bunt Boy. I considered it a successful day if I made it out of a game without getting hit in the face with the ball.

    One good thing about baseball at that level was that if you could just get the ball in play you had a chance because fielders made some sort of error about 50 percent of the time.

    And Cathy was the best athlete around, no question.

  9. Big John also had one of the world's greatest logos.

  10. Love that you played in blue jeans.

  11. Dude, those are Levi cords. Much more conducive to sporting events than jeans.

    But I know what you mean. Nobody had real baseball pants. And I don't think very many kids even had sweatpants.

  12. geewhy

    Have you ever heard of a bunch of St. John Vianny (Sp?) kids playing little league at Longfellow by the team name, the Little Sluggers? Circa. 1959

  13. I played baseball summer league at Longfellow in the early 60's, us local kids came up with a team. Frank Manley was the catcher,a kid named Camron (not sure about spelling) was our pitcher, Mike Weller played 3rd base, i played shortstop ( a left handed shortstop at that),another kid named Chris (can't remember last name) played second. lots of fun memories on those fields.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at