’55 Champs relive the past

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 16, 2006

The 1955 Southeastern Conference Champion University of Alabama baseball team celebrated their 51st Anniversary Thursday evening. The Hale County Wildlife Preservation Society members gathered for the celebration at the society’s hideaway in Sawyerville – J.B. “Buddy” Morrison’s place – for those who don’t know.

Members of the 1955 team that attended the event yesterday were John Paul Anderson (P) of Fairhope, Bill Carr (1B) of St. Augustine, Gary Freeman (P) of Gadsden, Bill “Bear” Latta (C) of Cropwell and J.B. “Buddy”Morrison (LF) of Sawyerville.

“There’s a lot of history on these walls that go back a long way,” Morrison said. The walls inside of the society’s hideaway have a multitude of pictures representing a collage of Alabama history and culture.

Email newsletter signup

“It’s diverse clientele. Everybody fits in here,” member Dave Davis said, as he pointed to pictures on the wall of the 1955 team, along with photographs of Lurleen Wallace and Paul “Bear” Bryant. Along with the ’55 champs and a good many others, the members attending the party last night included “Yankee Killer” Frank Lary, Cecil Jackson, Scott Naylor, David Castleman, Scott Nettle, Rusty Nichols,

The team has the all time SEC winning percentage and team batting average with wooden bats (.339). ,The boys had a team fielding percentage of .968, and finished the season with a 23-6 overall record. These SEC champs had the third best ERA (2.27) in the school’s history, allowing a total of 76 runs in the entire season.

Tommy Belk of Tuscaloosa, Terry Durham of Mobile, Bobby Hunt of Birmingham, Gene Lary of Northport, Dwight Leonard of Northport, Herb Kosten of Memphis, Tenn., Bobby Jackson of Montgomery, and Jimmy Walker of Tuscaloosa are members of the team that have passed away, and were honored by the group yesterday. Remarks were made about deceased society members Buster Brown, George Payne, Sen. Earl Goodwin, and Thorton Burns, Buddy Morrison’s last living first cousin.