Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek Discover Ohio’s Ancient Cultures during Archaeology Day at Serpent Mound Summer Reading Program ends as new school year approaches Lady Hounds preparing for 2017 volleyball campaign, looking for more improvement A servant’s hands Oh my, nothing better than a sweet tooth Rec Park hosts All-Star Sunday A Saturday night peek at a gridiron future McDowell, McCarty awarded Farm Bureau Scholarships Adams County Medical Foundation awards Dr. Bruce Ashley Legacy Scholarships Your kid on heroin Jerry W Olinger Douglas R Burchett Wayne Cowles Shirley Collins Jack L Yates Wayne Grooms Sr Adams County Building and Loan merging with Southern Hills Community Bank Ahead of Sales Tax Holiday, Attorney General DeWine offers tips for consumers Delores L Cook Harold L Smith Pell, Seas have high hopes for new SSCC campus ‘We prayed and believed it was going to happen’ 4-H Scholarships awarded during Fair Week Showmanship Sweepstakes concludes Junior Fair Competitions Junior Fair Crops are a Premium Show Southern Ohio’s only blackberry farmer wants to make berry pickin’ fun again Challenges ahead for new MLSD Superintendent SAY Soccer celebrating 50 years North Adams hosts Youth Football Mini-Camp Lady Dragons host Soccer Shootout 38 years later, Indians football returns It’s time Ten years and twenty goats later When nobody is watching When a blackberry wasn’t just a cell phone, but delicious Heroin user’s mom says addiction is a disease, not a choice Mary A Wallingford Rickey L Vincent Pauline Ertel William Bryant ACOVSD announces 2017-18 policy for free and reduced lunches What we are made of When summer really arrived Horse project 4-H members head to Ohio State Fair Defender hosts annual Cornhole Tournament George’s Brave Shave’ benefits other Year of planning, work pays off for 2017 fair Local teen opens new business Why can’t you stop? Camp first step in preparation for 2018 Greyhounds on the gridiron Young awarded SEDAB Scholarship Fair hosts Hall of Fame broadcaster Peebles goes back-to-back at the Barnyard The sport of goats Massive storms rumble through Ohio Valley James W Morgan Tiffany R Edwards Marshall W Groves

I could almost throw it through a brick wall

I grew up on the family farm in the 1950’s and 60’s. Outside of being a farmer for life I wanted most of all to be a major league baseball pitcher. Not just a pitcher, but a flame thrower like Sandy Koufax! I had grown up listening to the Reds on the radio with Waite Hoyt as the announcer, the former Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher. In those days the games weren’t televised in the frequency that they are today so I had to tune in the radio and listen to the play by play and imagine in my mind how a game would go.

Through the years I listened with a religious faith to the Reds I was fortunate to be listening to some of the greatest to have ever played the game. Some of these players were almost God-like to a youngster like me. The names of Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Maris, and Williams were every day in the lineup, but when it came to pitchers, they were a class all their own. So good were the pitchers that major league baseball lowered the pitching mound to make it more even for the hitter. Names like Koufax, Drysdale, Perry, Gibson and my very favorite from the Reds was Jim Maloney. I followed the box scores and every pitch these men threw for they were what I wanted to be, and maybe even better if I worked at it.

I matured early and by the seventh grade I was at my full growth of 5”8” in height with big arms and broad shoulders from all the work I did on the farm. Realizing that I could throw a baseball pretty hard, I decided to pursue being a pitcher in school, so in junior high I got my brother Ben to become my trainer, since he lived on our other farm very close to us.

Since I did throw hard Dad decided it be wise that my practicing was done on the end of the house which was brick that had a chimney and no windows. I guess Dad figured it would reduce expenses. Ben and I had the desire to make me a pitcher of value. Every open evening and on Sundays, Ben and I took our places in front of the wall and tossed. Now my brother was never a pitcher that could throw hard but he learned how to throw pitches that hitters had trouble hitting. He taught me the curveball, the screwball, the slider, a change-up, and even a knuckle ball. I had the fast ball but Ben showed me how to make it even faster. One evening as we were practicing and my Dad was calling the balls and strikes I threw a couple of pitches at a velocity I had not before reached. The result was that the pitches got past Ben and hit the brick wall and left cracks in the bricks and mortar. My thought was quickly Dad is going to be mad over this. Ben’s impression was “my little brother can crack a brick wall with a fastball!” Which to you sounds more impressive?

To this day I don’t know how the word got spread, but it did and I was ready to enter into the eighth grade at Felicity. One night the superintendent came to our house and he wanted to see as he put it, “the mortar breaker pitch.” Talk about nervous. Before we began to throw Ben came to me and said now just throw like it was any other time and try your hardest to forget who was watching.

We warmed up and then I went into my hard throwing. I threw a few fastballs that I admit were maybe the hardest I ever threw. Then I threw a couple of wicked curves. Then Ben called for a screwball and I laid a couple in that were great. Finally Ben walked out to me and said, “Lets show him how its done” and he called for a knuckleball. I began to balk at this but with his confident smile I knew all was in order and threw three awesome knuckleballs. . When we finished the exhibition, the superintendent said he was impressed and guaranteed me a starting positionat pitcher I could have floated into space.

In a few weeks I went to practice with a team of boys I had never seen or met. We held a scrimmage game and I pitched pretty well. I allowed I think a couple runs and struck out eight or nine batters. Life was good but the next game was against Hamersville and there was one obstacle I hadn’t overcome- a pitcher’s mound. I took the mound and that day I pitched a no-hitter. I either walked or hit every batter I faced and after Hamersville had a 6 to 0 lead I was removed to right field where I remained the rest of my playing days.

I couldn’t conquer the angle of the mound and all I could throw was wild pitches. My dream was put to rest that day and I really didn’t mind. I didn’t care for all the attention and inside of me I knew I was one of the hardest throwers around. But the last thing I remember and recall to this day was when our catcher called time and came to the mound. Bill said, “I just want to let you know that those guys are really getting ticked off by being hit so much. You might want to stop.” I wish I could have.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and likes to tell stories about his youth and other topics. He can be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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Rick Houser

The Good Old Days

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