60 years ago: UK baseball, Stoll Field, Jim Host

March 29, 2017 FieldsColumn

The March 29, 1957 Lexington Herald sports page included a story about UK baseball’s season opener.

Flipping through microfiche files of old newspapers is endlessly entertaining. Some story or photo always catches your eye, like the sports page (above) from the Lexington Herald 60 years ago today. It was about UK baseball. I didn’t know Harry Lancaster, Adolph Rupp’s basketball assistant, coached baseball, or that the baseball team played at Stoll Field, or that John Crigler and Jim Host were baseball teammates, or that left-handers were called port-siders . . . 

Excerpted from March 29, 1957, Lexington Herald story:

Southeastern Conference defending champion Florida meets the 1956 cellar-dwelling Kentucky Wildcats on Stoll Field this afternoon at 3 o’clock in a season-opening baseball encounter expected to find the league rivals on much evener terms than a year ago when the Gators swept three contests on their home grounds by lopsided scores.

For the first of a three-game series, which finds a double-header on tap Saturday at 1 p.m., Coach Harry Lancaster of the Wildcats has nominated veteran port-sider Phil “Cookie” Grawemeyer for starting duty opposing the Gators’ Burt Touchberry.

Besides Grawemeyer, the UK pitching contingent includes a pair of sterling sophomores – Jim Host and Joe Dawson – and three other hurlers who between them won two and lost three last season.

Host and Dawson, the first two recipients of baseball scholarships in Kentucky’s athletic history, paced the UK freshman nine with 4-1 and 6-2 records, respectively, and average allowing only three hits a game to the opposition. The duo is expected to go to the hill as starters in Saturday’s double-header.

Junior John Crigler posted a 1-0 in six appearances to lead the ’56 varsity percentage-wise. Right behind him was Ken Lehkamp, only other lefthander on the staff and a senior this season. Rounding out the available pitchers is junior Kenny Hill, Lexington, who was charged with one loss while pitching in four games during relief duty last year.

In addition to pitchers, (UK’s) returnees are outfielder catcher Jim Morris, second baseman Bill Willard and outfielder Lavon Lewis.