Tue October 16, 2012
1952 American Legion Baseball Team
It seems like almost yesterday that the 1952 Cape Girardeau Junior American Legion baseball team, The Mainliners, came close to the youthful dream of a birth in the American Legion World Series.
The 17 and under team completed a perfect season -- 18 wins, no losses. They rolled through the zone tourney, the state championship and set out for Altus, Oklahoma, where they had been eliminated in 1951. But here in 1952, they won their first game, defeating Topeka, Kansas, and then captured the regional championship by defeating the host team, Altus.
Only the sectional tournament stood between them and the World Series. In Bloomington, Illinois, the Mainliners defeated a heavily favored team from St. Paul, Minnesota, 6-0.
Next was Cincinatti, Ohio, in a two out of three series. On August 27, the Cincinnati team lived up to its reputation by threshing the Mainliners 11-2. A double-header on August 28 would determine which team would receive the World Series slot.
The Cape youngsters would have to win both games to advance. Cape won the first game 9-8 and controlled the second and decisive game leading 3-2 going into the final inning. They were one out away from the World Series. But Cincinatti rallied and won 4-3.
The Mainliners were a great baseball team -- unbeaten in the regular season, they finished among the elite 8 of more 16,000 American Legion teams. They are remembered by many. And for all who played on that team or say them play, it seems like Almost Yesterday.