HDSP Warden M. Eliot Spearman presented a check to Sandy Brown from the American Legion Baseball Organization.

By Lt. Gregory Crowe, AA/Public Information Officer
High Desert State Prison

High Desert State Prison recently donated over $2,000 to the American Legion Baseball Team in Susanville.

Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs, educating young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship and fitness.

What is American Legion Baseball?

According to its website, “Today, the program registers teams in all 50 states plus Canada. Each year young people, ages 13 to 19, participate. Since its inception in 1925, the league has had millions of players, including countless who have gone on to play in college and professional baseball, with 68 inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Even Yogi Berra played for the American Legion before going pro.

“Ted Williams suited up for a post in San Diego. Frank Robinson led his Oakland … team to the only back-to-back national championships in program history. Babe Ruth was too old to join when Legion Baseball started, but he spent the final years of his life promoting the program as its director of operations. Other prominent players include Justin Verlander, Ryne Sandberg, Roy Campanella, Dusty Baker, Albert Pujols, Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones. … Of all the notable former players, Legion Baseball had perhaps the greatest impact on former Cleveland Indians great Bob Feller. A self-described shy farm kid from rural Iowa, Feller cut his teeth playing for Variety Post 313. He says the experience taught him as much about life as it did baseball. Legion Baseball gave him an outlet to be discovered as a pitcher, but also gave him a chance to form lifelong friendships, learn to deal with letdown in athletic competition, and become better prepared for the mental and emotional strain of fighting in a war.”

Other notables who have played American Legion Baseball include former Vice President Dick Cheney, journalist Tom Brokaw and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.