1961 Stuarts Draft Babe Ruth VFW Team
Thanks to Johnny "Mac" McCracken & Billy Heishman
Front Row ( L to R) - Mike Kusuba, Gary Allen, Russell Bosserman, Bill Ballew and Wayne Lowe

Second Row - Timmy Balsley, Van Thomas, Billy Heishman,Harvey Almarode, Roger Harris and Earl Monroe

Third Row -   Sammy Fauber, Ronnie Painter, Ray Snyder, Corky Fitzgerald and Johnny McCracken

Back Row - Coaches:   B. G. Fitzgerald and Elmer Woods 

The following information was provided by Bill Heishman. If any others in the photo have some additional comments. Click here to send me e-mail and I'll include them.

The Team ages were 13 to 15. Babe Ruth League Rules in 1961 required 5 players in each age group 13, 14 & 15.
You can pick out the "baby face" 13yr olds and 15yr "old men" !

Many of the players had played baseball together for years in neighborhood sandlot pick up games: Timmy Balsley, Corky Fitzgerald, Billy Heishman, Johnny McCraken and Ray Snyder. But the Babe Ruth Team was official and serious, we had uniforms, a new baseball, bats that weren't broken and held together by nails, real bases and even umpires !

We played teams from Staunton, Greenville, Verona, Fishersville, Sherando and Waynesboro. The highlight of the summer was to make the County AllStars. I remember we went one year to play in Clifton Forge and another year to Front Royal playing in Bing Crosby Stadium.

Corky told me his dad, Coach BG Fitzgerald at the beginning of each season would go to Engleman's Hardware Store and get 2 new baseballs to last our whole season. Baseballs were $1 each. A handshake between Coach Fitzgerald and Mr Engleman was only payment agreement made. During the season we boys picked up "pop bottles" to give money to give Coach Fitzgerald. Corky said his Dad always was able to pay Mr Engleman for our teams baseball bill !

A major injury happened that season. Bill Ballew, front row second from right and Bill Heishman second row third from the left collided on an infield pop up. Ballew was playing first base and Heishman catching. The pop up was down the first base line in foul territory right in front of our home dugout. Coach Fitzgerald was calling out "take it Bill, take it Bill" forgetting both players name was Bill. The two Bill's collided trying to catch the ball.
You can see in the photo Bill Ballew was much much bigger than Bill Heishman who ran into  Ballew's left elbow his glove hand. The collision knocked Heishman to the ground knocking out his front tooth completely, smashing several lower teeth inward.  Ballew caught the ball for the out so their effort was rewarded.  Heishman was not knocked unconscious but badly bloodied. Coach Fitzgerald helped him to his car to take him to a dentist in Fishersville. Heishman didn't want to leave because he had hit a home run the inning before and wanted to keep playing. That simple play but major collision has caused Heishman numerous dental problems during the past 50yrs because of the trauma to his mouth & teeth including several root canals and implants.

Several players from that team have continued to live in the Stuarts Draft area. Harvey Almarode retired school teacher, Roger Harris & Wayne Lowe retired DuPont. Billy Heishman retired VA State Employee(Died April 13, 2023), Ray Snyder a Relator and Earl Monroe is Reverend Monroe in a local Mennonite Church.