Oil Belt Little League in Calallen opened its 2011 season on Saturday with a ceremony that honored volunteers and players who participated in the league more than 50 years ago.
Randy Lynch said he was only 10 years old when he began playing baseball in 1959, the first year for baseball in Calallen. At the time, Annaville and Calallen had not been annexed into the City of Corpus Christi, Lynch said, so the site where the league's fields now sit was vacant land belonging to Nueces County.
Lynch's father, Bob, negotiated with then-County Commissioner William McKinzie for a 100-year lease for the land that would house a pair of baseball fields to be used for area youth. The annual cost of that lease was $1, an agreement that remains in place to this day.
The community banded together to build the two fields, with donated supplies comprising the majority of the project, Lynch said. Despite the push by residents, only one of the fields was available for use in the league's first year, he added. The other wasn't completed until a couple of years later.
Bob Lynch also announced each game, and Randy remembers one of the more unique ways his father used to motivate players on each of the league's four teams - he would play Stonewall Jackson's "Waterloo" for the losing team after each game.
"We would do everything we could to make sure we would never hear 'Waterloo,'" Randy Lynch said.
Soon after that piece of information was revealed, a voice blared over the fields' new public announcement speakers to announce a dedication for Randy Lynch. The announcer then began playing "Waterloo" for the crowd, bringing a smile to Lynch as he visited with other attendees at the event.
Also introduced at Saturday's ceremony was Eddie Ginn, who was a former coach for the league during its early years. Prior to his introduction, Ginn ran into a former Little League player who has now gone on to serve in public office - Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Pusley.
"Michael Pusley!" Ginn exclaimed.
"How are you, sir?" Pusley replied. He reached out and shook Ginn's hand.
"These boys grow up fast, don't they?" Ginn inquired with a laugh.
Lynch, who now resides in California with his family, said he was humbled by the scene on Saturday. The league, which began with four teams and about 60 players, has since grown to include more than 450 local youth and more than 20 teams.