FARMINGTON — The Original Seven were forever enshrined in Connie Mack World Series history.
Pete Welsh, Ron Boddy, Tank Holland, Bern Gantner, Ernest Echohawk, Paul Almquist and Bob Hoffman, known for their collective effort in bringing the tournament to Farmington, were inducted into the CMWS Hall of Fame Thursday night at Ricketts Park.
CMWS pioneers Danny Carpenter, Doc Jones, Bob Williams and Jim Clay were also enshrined.
“I am absolutely in awe. They were determined, and they absolutely made it happen,” said Valerie Uselman, Bob Williams’ daughter. “Those guys were a bunch of fireballs, I’m telling you. I can remember in 1965 coming to the series as a young (11 year old) girl, just thinking this is absolutely the coolest thing on the planet.”
Family members attended the ceremony on the group’s behalf. Those former players unfortunately were unable to travel to Farmington because they’re in frail health or had already passed away.
Information from Connie Mack World Series officials revealed that The Original Seven traveled to Chicago on Nov. 18, 1964 to present their case to move the tournament from Springfield, Illinois to Farmington at the national meeting of the American Amateur Baseball Congress.
Farmington hosted the 1963 Babe Ruth World Series. Holland, speaking on behalf of the group, told officials the city became the “Amateur Baseball Capital of the Southwest” and eyed becoming the “Amateur Baseball Capital of America.”
The AABC board voted for Farmington to host the tournament starting in 1965, and the rest of history.
“For them to ever have a chance to win something this big, it’s phenomenal for a small town,” said Steve Gates, Doc Jones’ nephew. “We think of the magnitude of that, these oil field guys from Farmington going to Chicago to compete for something like that. It’s pretty incredible to think... that they could win this. It had to of been a pretty good presentation, I would’ve love to see that somehow.”
Editor’s note: The story was originally published online the night of Thursday, July 25 and in the Saturday, July 27 print edition of the Daily Times. The previous version included an incorrect and incomplete list of inductees.
Rombach hits 21 combined home runs to win title Thursday at Ricketts Park. Farmington Daily Times
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or on Twitter at @MattH_717.