Brunswick vs. Mantle
If you are a minor league pitcher, the chances are pretty good that you will get a chance to prove your mettle against major league players at some point during spring training. Well, that chance came for Lou and it happened to be against a young player who would become a hall of famer and one of the greatest sluggers of all time, Mickey Mantle.
It was a meaningless spring training scrimmage and they sent me in to pitch against a young Mickey Mantle. Mickey broke into the bigs in 1951 so this was right about that time. I would like to say this was the classic David vs. Goliath matchup, but I was smarter than that and I knew what was about to happen.
First, I about crapped my pants. Then I threw two pitches in the dirt and those were the closest of the four pitches to the strike zone. He walked and I survived
Lou talks about his 1945 St. Henry team that made the state finals.
For a bunch of farm boys from Mercer County, the experience was far greater than just playing the game of baseball. For many of the players, that 100-mile trek to Columbus might as well have been a trip to New York City.
We stayed at the Neil House downtown. We had never seen buildings that tall ... it was amazing. I walked out in the street and I was looking up at the biggest buildings I had ever seen … and I almost got hit by a car. It was the most incredible experience.
Of course, we were still boys. Some of the rooms in the hotel had beds that when you hit a button, they would fold into the wall. So naturally, we would get some of our teammates to lay in the bed and then we would flip them into the wall and trap them. That sure was a lot of fun.
It seems like just yesterday … I can still see their faces. Boy, we wished we had won it all, but we knew then … and I still know today … that it was an experience none of us would ever forget.
ST. HENRY'S 1945 CLASS B STATE RUNNER-UP TEAM. From the left, front row: Lou Brunswick, Ralph Stammen, Bob Heinrichs, Paul Geier and A.J., Collins (principal); second row: Coach Charles Karcher; John Koesters, Pete Stammen, Ed Post, Carl Borger and Wally Post.