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Roswell’s Boys of Summer, 1956
By Rick Hendricks
They called themselves the Roswell Lions-Hondo Little League All-Stars, and in August 1956 they were the champions of world. To qualify for the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the boys from Roswell, New Mexico, first had to win the district tournament for Southeastern New Mexico; the state championship in Los Alamos; the Southwestern Regional in Lubbock, Texas; and the area championship at San Antonio. In Williamsport they defeated Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, 3-1 and Winchester, Massachusetts , 6-3 before advancing to the championship game to face off against the mighty Delaware Township, New Jersey team, who were considered the odds-on favorites, having been the runners up in the previous year. Delaware Township won their playoff game the day before with an impressive 2-0 shutout over Colton, California.
On game day Delaware Township took an early lead with a solo homerun in the top of the third, but the hero of the game was Roswell hurler Tommy Jordan, whose pitching and hitting carried the day. A right-hander, Jordan tossed a complete game, giving up only two hits, walking two, and striking out fourteen batters, tying the existing record. In the bottom of the fourth, he drove one over the centerfield scoreboard with two runners aboard. His three-run homer put Roswell on top, and Delaware Township’s batters could not connect with his pitches. The Roswell boys had reeled off twelve consecutive victories on the way to their World Series championship.
The players were: Guy Bevill, Farral Dunham,Teddy Garrett, Harold Hobson, Tommy Jordan, Albert Palimino, Mike Sandry, David Sherrod, Harold Sherrod, David Smith, Richard St. John, Richard Storey, Blaine Stribling, Billy Turley, Jimmy Valdez and Randy Willis.
Another Roswell team, Noon Optimist Little League, almost made it to Williamsport in 2007, but Roswell’s 1956 Boys of Summer still remain New Mexico’s only world champion Little Leaguers.