July 2011

Other Brushes with Baseball Glory

OK, we promise to stop writing about baseball after this one. But while we were doing the research on Chick Galloway, Charlie Wilson, and Everett Booe, we ran across several other major and minor league players who have been associated with PC.

Lou Brissie from 1943 Pac Sac

Perhaps the best known is pitcher Leland “Lou” Brissie, a native of Anderson. He had his start with the Riegel company textile league club when he was only in the ninth grade. When he graduated from Ware Shoals High School in 1941, he traveled with PC student Tom Glade and PC baseball coach Chick Galloway to visit with Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics. He signed with the Athletics with the provision that he would play for PC under Coach Galloway for three years before he moved up to the majors. He stayed at PC for 3 semesters, and played baseball in both 1942 and 1943. Then World War II intervened, and Lou enlisted in the army. He was severely injured in December of 1944. His leg was so damaged that doctors threatened to amputate, but he persuaded them not to, and it was ultimately saved.

Lou had kept in touch with Connie Mack, and Mack promised that if he could get himself well, he would give him a chance to play. It took two years, 23 major operations, and a lot of rehab, but by 1947 he was pitching for the Savannah Indians of the South Atlantic League. He made his major-league debut with the Athletics in September 1947 in a game against the New York Yankees. He won 14 games in 1948 and 16 in 1949. In 1951 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, where he played for three seasons before retiring from organized baseball.

Claude Crocker from 1949 Pac Sac

There were other major leaguers also associated with the college’s baseball program. Carl Vandagrift, who played for the Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1914, came in to replace Everett Booe in 1914 when he went to Indianapolis. Vandagrift had earlier played for seven years in the minor leagues. Claude Crocker, a graduate of the University of North Carolina who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944 and 1945, coached PC’s team in 1949. Claude fell in love with a Clinton girl, and lived and worked in Clinton until his death in 2002. Walt Barbare, a native of Greenville who had spent eight years in the majors with the Boston Braves, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox, coached the PC nine in 1950.

Walter Barbare from 1950 Pac Sac

There were also several minor leaguers who coached for PC. Edward E. Doak, who had played for Wilmington, Goldsboro, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Asheville between 1908 and 1913, coached the team in 1913. Lawrence “Coon” Weldon, who graduated from PC in 1937 and played in the minors for Gainesville, Spartanburg, Bellingham, San Diego and Moultrie, coached for PC in 1937. And of course Elton Pollock, the college’s current coach, was with the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.

Lawrence Weldon from 1937 Pac Sac

Elton Pollock

That’s probably enough about PC baseball for a while, but if anyone has any additions to this list or anything else to add, don’t hesitate to contact us.