American Legion Baseball
National Championship 1939
Omaha Fontenelle Park
Fontenelle Baseball Park circa 1949
1939 National Championship Location
In 1939, Omaha was selected to be the host of the American Legion World Series. Fontenelle Park was the site where the Omaha McDevitts representing Omaha American Legion Post # 1 from Creighton Prep won the American Legion Championship. They defeated a team from Berwyn Illinois.

The 1939 Legion World Series started on August 31st with Omaha winning the first game 7 to 6. Omaha was behind 6-2 in the seventh. One run in the 7th, one in the 8th and 3 in the ninth was the difference for the Prep team. The Berwyn Illinois team won the second game 9-6 ending a 25 game winning streak by the lads from Omaha. The third game took 10 innings as Omaha won 2 to 1 with Russo on the mound for Prep. Each of the first three games drew over 8,000 fans each. The fourth game was played on September 3rd in front of 13,000 fans. The Omaha team won 6 to 2 to win the series. Prep scored two in the second and four in the sixth. Bud Blessie scattered six hits for his second win of the series.

The Creighton Prep/McDevitts story is one of legend in Omaha baseball sports history. Coached by legendary Skip Palrang the Prep team swept through the 1939 season. Come tournament time they beat Lincoln at East Hill Park in York. They then beat Neligh 7-6 in a 10 inning game.

Their next opponent was Omaha Red Tops (Omaha South?). They won 10-4 in the first game and 2-1 at Fontenelle Park in the second. The crowd was listed as being over 10,000 for the game.

The regional tournament was at Aberdeen South Dakota. Skip's team eliminated the home town Aberdeen team then defeated Grand Forks to take the regional crown.

The Western Sectional saw the boys from Prep defeating Topeka. The next day they defeated a team from Los Angeles in a 13 inning game. Tied at 4 all in the 6th the game remained scoreless until Prep scored 2 runs in the 13th for a 6-4 victory.


Sam Russo, pitcher

Bill Wachtler, center field, pitcher, 1st team all state

Frank Mancuso, right field

Ray Henningsen, second base, 1st team all state

Walt Matejka, third base

Clarence "Bud" Blessie, Pitcher 1st team all state

George Dunn, catcher, 1st team all state

Anthony Nocita, short

Sam Buda was the catcher in 1939. He went on to play football for Creighton University (yes Creighton once had a football team).

Frank Lyman, first base

Jack Conway, left field

Ed Larkin, left field

Dickey Markey, left field

Dick Hanna, pitcher

John Bendekovic, catcher.


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