MIAMI — Some spring cleaning in the Miami High School baseball locker room by coach Jeremy Strack led to a startling discovery.
He came across jerseys worn by the Wardogs’ 1987 Class 3A state championship team.
That find set in motion plans to have a reunion for members of the team on Tuesday, April 10 at Joe Pollock Field that was spearheaded by two members of that team, Jamie Williams and Bless Parker.
“I was cleaning out the locker room and came across old jerseys,” Strack said. “As I went though them, I found the ’87 jerseys. I reached out to Jamie Williams to see if we could find a way to get the jerseys to the guys on that team and it has turned into an event.”
Former players will get a tour of Joe Pollock Field, which has recently received a major facelift thanks to RBI Miami.
A ceremony honoring the team — and the presentation of their jersey — will be at 4 p.m. and former coach Chris Crosbie will throw out the first pitch just prior to a 5 p.m. start of the District 4A-8 game with Oologah.
“It’s nice to know it hasn’t been forgotten,” Parker said. “It always lives through us, but it lives on through others as well. Finding the jersey is crazy that they are still around.”
Williams and Parker worked at contacting as many of the players as they could.
“He (Parker) stopped by one of our games the other day and we talked a little bit about it in detail,” said Williams, currently pitching coach at Northeastern A&M.
This will be the first time Williams and Parker have seen some of their teammates in the 31 years that have passed.
“I think this will be a huge deal for our guys and the program,” Strack said. “I am excited for them to get to meet the ’87 team and to get to see a group of guys that did something special for MHS and the Wardog baseball program 31 years ago.
What makes the occasion even more special for Williams is the fact that his son, Drew, is a member of the current Wardog squad who is playing the same positions his father did — catcher and pitcher.
“It’s neat that I am going to be able to be on the same time with him and him playing the same position I did. That are the odds of that — they aren’t very high.”
The Wardogs (23-11) beat Guthrie, 6-4; McAlester, 7-5 on Crosbie’s birthday (Wes Buxton improved to 10-0 on the season) and Okmulgee 10-5 in the championship game.
Carter Mackey, one of at least 12 members of the team who have confirmed they will be back, had a complete-game victory.
He allowed eight hits while striking out four and walking none.
Eric Wells, Richie Berry, Buxton and Tim Collier each had two hits for the Dogs.
Mackey, who had transferred from Pryor, led the team in hitting (.376) and RBIs (34).
Steve Rhodes hit .353 with 13 RBIs and Williams had a .330 average with 27 RBIs and a team best four home runs.
Buxton had a 1.58 earned run average and struck out 91 over 71.0 innings.
“It’s a team that had a special year and those don’t come along very often,” said Miami athletic director Chad Davis. “What a unique situation to be able to bring these guys back into town.”
“I think it will serve as a means of motivation and focus for our group moving forward,” Strack said.