Mike Lieberman the General manager of the East Texas Pump Jacks invited me out to Kilgore to get a first hand report of how the new team is doing in Kilgore, Texas.
If you are not familiar with Kilgore, Texas, Kilgore is nestled right in between Tyler(the Rose Capital of the World), and Longview. Kilgore at one time boasted a single downtown city block with the densest concentration of oil derricks in the world. In late summer 1931, as tumultuous conditions persisted in the burgeoning new “boomtown,” the state sent a star of its own, legendary Texas Ranger Manuel T. (Lone Wolf) Gonzaullas, to help restore order. And during World War II, oil from East Texas field literally helped “fuel” the efforts of the Allies. More than 80 oil derricks dot the Kilgore skyline today, all topped with lighted stars as reminders that our country’s Stars and Stripes waves free, due in large part to the contribution East Texas oil made to victory for our Allies.
The East Texas Pump Jacks are the newest member of the Texas Collegiate League with former members, Coppell Copperheads, McKinney Marshals and the Brazos Valley Bombers. The PumpJacks play in Drillers Park and it is the first baseball team franchise in more than a half-century that draws its inspiration from the oil field that put East Texas in the spotlight. Drillers Park was erected by the Kilgore Baseball Club for $100,000 on land deeded to the city of Kilgore by S.S. Laird. The Park straddles the line between Gregg and Rusk Counties. An Excellent example of small stadium engineering, the ballpark was constructed of oil field pipe, tank steel, and concrete with an infield underground drainage system.
Enough of the history lets get down to the action. This is not the first time that I have attended a Summer Collegiate League game. I try to attend 3-4 a year as my schedule would allow it. So, This was my first of this year and it lived up to its expectations. The PumpJacks have done a fantastic job of putting this team on the map. I have to applaud Mike Lieberman for making the fans comfortable in the stadium. Even with the 30 minutes Lightening delay (Brian Foley, the Editor calls me during this time and it was nearly impossible to hear him) My son and I knew that we were not leaving until the game was over.
I also have to say thanks to Parker Griffith who takes care of the stats for the PumpJacks and he was gracious enough to allow me to answer my questions during the game and after the game. Thanks Parker! I have gotten to know Parker through email as he would keep me informed of the Baseball Team at UT-Tyler where he is the SID.
I also had the Pleasure of meeting the Head Coach of the PumpJacks, Stan Phelps. Coach Phelps walked out of the dressing room with a smile on his face and I commented that a win always helps out. He said it would have been better had the 30 minute lightening delay ruin his pitching rotation. He had to go to the bullpen after the delay. We than spoke abput the upcoming season at UT-Tyler and Coach Phelps is really excited about the ’09 season. Coach Phelps is the pitching coach at UT-Tyler and feels like this year staff should be about the best that he has had at UT-Tyler. Then he stopped and said that everything looks good on paper and I commented that everything changes once you get in between the lines. He chuckled and agreed.
I would like to thank Mike, Parker and Coach Phelps on making a trip very enjoyable for my Son and I.
Please follow the link to the rest of my pictures.
info gathered from the Kilgore Chambers of Commerce.