This Week in Sapulpa History: Softball Champions 1955


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Rachel Whitney, Curator,
Sapulpa Historical Museum

This week in Sapulpa history, on September 11, 1955, the National Softball Congress (NSC) tournament ended with “the highest honors of the softball world descended on the Sapulpa Brick and Tile team.” The final game came down to Sapulpa versus the 1954 champions, the San Pedro All-Stars.

“That bright sun which today bathed Sapulpa was merely the reflected glare of the national limelight in which the city was projected by their astonishing sweep through the National Softball Tournament.” A tournament that started out with the top 20 teams in the nation, ended with our city’s victory.

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And it all started with Sapulpa Brick and Tile’s first game of the season.

The schedule was posted at the end of May. Brick and Tile would face six teams in a span of twelve games: Rhodes Cleaners, Douglas, Berry Carter, Mannford, Bristow, and Frisco.

“The Sapulpa softball season gets off to one of its most promising starts with a double header. Shining hope of softball enthusiasts is one of the hottest city softball leagues in the state. At least two of the City League teams are the best-known softball teams in the state.” The papers said that Frisco and Sapulpa Brick were the two top contenders starting the new season.

Start of the 1955 Season, Sapulpa Sunday Herald, May 29, 1955
Sapulpa Wins Opener, Sapulpa Herald, June 1, 1955

Ultimately, it was not Frisco’s year, ending their season 5-7. Sapulpa Brick and Tile ended their season 11-1, with only Berry Carter beating them in a close matched game. The first match against Berry was the score of 4 to 3, for Berry’s win; the second round with Berry, Sapulpa won 3 to 2. Sapulpa’s biggest win was against Bristow, “Bricks easy victors over Bristow, 18 to 3.”

Sapulpa Beats Bristow, Sapulpa Herald, June 29, 1955

During the victorious City League, Sapulpa Brick faced off against an undefeated team Phillips 66 of Okmulgee in the State NSC softball tournament. The loser of the ballgame would have to face Q-Mobile of Tulsa; and the winner against Q-Mobile will face off the winner from the Phillips 66-Sapulpa match.

Phillips and Sapulpa had faced off, earlier, for the District NSC; however, Sapulpa had lost to Phillips, then. With this rematch for State, Sapulpa “got revenge by administering a 20 to 0 shellacking to Phillips for the State trophy.”

The NSC held “a 20-team schedule, triple-headers, for three straight days, and no games on Labor Day…These teams will take part in the tournament: McGregor (Texas), Coolidge, (Arizona), Memphis (Tennessee), Alice (Texas), Hanford (California), Atlanta (Georgia), Las Cruces (New Mexico), Alice (Texas), Kentland (Indiana), Salt Lake City (Utah), El Paso (Texas), Norristown (Pennsylvania), San Pedro (California), Borger (Texas), Okmulgee Phillips 66 (Oklahoma), Q-Mobile of Tulsa (Oklahoma), Berry Carter of Tulsa (Oklahoma), Sapulpa Brick and Tile (Oklahoma), Independent Lumber team of Tulsa (Oklahoma), and Jal (New Mexico).

20-team Tournament, Sapulpa Herald, August 31, 1955

In the 1955 NSC tournament, both states of Texas and Oklahoma held the most teams involved, with 5 teams, each. Texas, though, had one town having 2 teams, from Alice; and Oklahoma had 3 teams from one city, from Tulsa.

The first match up for Sapulpa was against Memphis, Tennessee. However, Memphis had to withdraw due to an injury to their pitcher. Sapulpa’s first true game faced off against one of the Alice, Texas teams.

NSC Opener, Sapulpa Herald, September 2, 1955

“The game will be played here at Earle Berryhill field.” Berryhill field is believed to have been located on the Euchee Mission grounds at this time. Most of the games during the tournament were held in our city, with home field advantage.

The final game in the tournament came down to Sapulpa Brick and Tile and San Pedro All-Stars. The ballgame was held in Tulsa. It was a close game, with only a two-run difference. But the returning three-time champions couldn’t hold off Sapulpa.

“The game then rocked along scoreless until the last half of the last inning, when San Pedro made its last desperate bid for the World Title. After giving up two costly outs, the top of the San Pedro batting order came up.” After a triple, San Pedro had the tying run at the plate. With the next swing, “a long fly ball which Dude Ausmus collected for the third and final out of the tournament.”

Sapulpa State Champs, Sapulpa Herald, September 2, 1955

It was a packed house, with an estimated 2,000 spectators, cheering on the game.

“With the title of world’s best softball team came many individual honors. Three of the 14 All-American selections went to Sapulpans.” Arno Lamb was named Best Pitcher, and was picked All-American. Dude Ausmus was the tournament’s Best Hitter. Clyde Woods was picked All-American Outfielder.

Highest Honors After Win, Sapulpa Daily Herald, September 12, 1955

“Arno Lamb, who set a new NSC World Tournament record with two successful no-hit, no-run games, was picked as the top pitcher. Dude Ausums, who batted a .563 average in the tournament, was the tournament’s leading hitter.”

The 1955 NSC Trophy Won by Sapulpa Brick and Tile is on Display in the 1950s-1960s Exhibit

“The Sapulpa Brick and Tile team in the last six weeks has won almost all the softball honors it could possibly win. It won the World NSC Championship, the State NSC Championship, and the Runner-Up Trophy in the District NSC Tournament.”

Sapulpa came for the win with a score of 6 to 4.

The National Softball Congress lasted only a decade, 1947-1957. San Pedro won the Championship 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957. Sapulpa Brick were Runner-Ups in the 1956 and 1957 seasons; Arno Lamb won MVP in 1957.

(Sapulpa Daily Herald, May 29, 1955, June 1, 1955, June 29, 1955, August 31, 1955, September 1, 1955, September 2, 1955, September 12, 1955; Softball History)

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