Omaha was the home of the 1949 American Legion World Series. The Municipal Stadium was completed in the fall of 1948 and the new "million dollar" stadium was the home of the Omaha Cardinals in the Western League. (the stadium was eventually renamed to be Rosenblatt Stadium and is scheduled to be torn down in 2010).
Ford Lincon Mercury dealers were big supporters of American Legion Baseball in 1949 and organized baseball underwrote the championship series. Four teams converged on Omaha for the double elimination tournament. Attendance was impressive with 45,358 paid admissions and 11,168 for the final game.
Oakland Post 337 won the championship and would repeat in 1950. They beat Wheeling West Virginia in the first round 12-1 while Cincinnati defeated Atlanta 16-7. In a losers bracket game Wheeling eliminated Atlanta 7-4 while Oakland defeated Cincinnati 11-6 to stay undefeated. Cincinnati then ousted Wheeling 5-0. Cincinnati then beat Oakland 13-12 to set up the championship game. Oakland won 8-6. Ray Herrera started a rare triple play for Oakland to help seal the victory.
Captain Bill Irwin Post 337, Oakland California, Champions
George W Budde Post 507, Cincinnati Ohio, Second
Wheeling West Virginia Post 1, Third
Atlanta Georgia Post 169, Fourth
Other Regional Champions:
Pittsfield Mass Post 68
Warren Rhode Island Post 11
Gastonia North Carolina Post 23
Little Rock Arkansas Post 1
St. Louis Missouri Post 186
Omaha Nebraska Post 1
Aberdeen South Dakota Post 24
Bremerton Washington Post 149
The Oakland team was from McClymonds High School in Oakland California. George Powles coached both basketball and baseball at the school. Frank Robinson, Curt Flood and Vada Pinson all played on their 1953 baseball team and Bill Russell was the leader on the schools basketball team. Oakland also took the lions share of the individual awards. Shortstop Ray Herrera was named the American Legion Player of the Year. J. W. Porter received the Hillerich and Bradsby batting championship award. The 16 year old catcher hit .551 during the tournament. He had 27 hits in 49 at bats with 22 RBI's in ten tournament games. He repeated as the batting champion in 1950 and was signed for $50,000 by the Chicago White Sox. He played for Waterloo in 1951. He made his major league debut in 1952 with the St. Louis Browns. He had major league stints with seven different teams through the 1959 season. He also played for eleven different minor league teams. He was also a manager in the Expos organization in the late 60's.
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