John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January

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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