Mid County Babe Ruth celebrates 50 years; all-star team gets ready for regionals

Published 12:38 am Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Mid County Babe Ruth baseball league celebrated its 50th anniversary this year as the all-star team prepares to leave for the regional tournament next week.

The league’s president, Jimmy Collins, who also played for Mid County Babe Ruth when he was a child, said he has made many memories with the organization.

“I feel real fortunate to be able to be a part of it as long as we have,” he said. “The kids keep coming and that is what it is all about. We always said that we will keep doing it as long as they come out.”

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Collins started playing in the league when he was 13, adding he never imagined running the organization.

“The biggest thing is all of the friendships you make over the years,” he said. “We have got guys that have been coaching for years and years. Their kids came through and are gone. We’ve all still been there. It is just a lot of fun and a lot of friendship. We just kept hanging around and this is what happens. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it. That is how we all are.”

Longtime board member Clint Landry enjoyed celebrating the league’s 50th year.

“It has been fun seeing some of the original members that started the organization back in the 70s,” he said. “We were fortunate enough to have two players come out from the original team. We had Skip Hopkins and Wedge Taylor show up for our closing ceremonies the other night.”

Collins said the youngest manager with the organization has 12 years of experience. The group allows kids of all different levels get some summer play in while providing unmatched experiences that kids can remember a lifetime.

“For some, it is the last time they will ever play,” he said. “For some, it is a good stepping stone going into college. We feel like the competition is pretty good. We take all levels, but the competition is good enough to keep them in practice.”

Collins said 2020 was the most difficult time with the league due to the pandemic.

“We had so many rules and regulations, which we completely understand,” he said. “It was a tough year. Some of the parents were hesitant for their kids to be out, which we also understood. That was a hard year.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Collins said winning the World Series as a coach was one of his most joyous moments.

“That was one of the top-5 things that we have done and to be part of it was special,” he said. “It is really all about the kids. It is not about us. As long as they are progressing and moving forward, we feel like we are doing something.”

The Mid County Babe Ruth all-star team will head to Alabama Wednesday for the regional tournament. The team that emerges from there advances to the World Series. Collins said the tournament will host six or seven teams, with the Mid County squad playing five games.

“We feel pretty good about what we got this year,” he said. “We scrimmaged (Thursday) against some good high school players and college kids. We held our own, so we feel pretty good.”