Callery Baseball

         Callery Baseball has been very good to me!

As you approach the borough from the south on the Mars-Evans City Road to the west is the Breakneck Creek and railroad line with an attractive baseball field tucked in the valley below the road.  This was once a pasture field for the nearby Marburger farm and now is exclusively a baseball field cared for and operated by the Mars Baseball Association.  A variety of leagues use the field from early spring to fall.  High school, legion, Butler County Eagle League, and other teams use the field throughout the week.

One of the most notable residents was Ronald Lee Kline who signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952.  Born March 9, 1932, he debuted April 21, 1952 having played baseball for the Callery team in the Butler County Eagle League where he was discovered.  He  pitched over parts of seventeen seasons (1952, 1955–1970) with the Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Soxes and Atlanta Braves. For his career, he was a right handed pitcher, who compiled a 114-144 record in 736 appearances, mostly as a relief pitcher, with a 3.75 earned run average and 989 strikeouts.  June 13, 1970 was his last major league pitching appearance with the Atlanta Braves.

He died in Callery at the age of 70 on June 22, 2002.  He was a member of the Crestview Community Church PCUSA.

Baseball has been a part of the Callery community from the early days. 

The Marburger Baseball Field has been here since 1895 when Wes Kline moved to Callery from Cranberry.  It has been used continuously throughout the years as one of the oldest athletic fields in the area.

It was basically pick up baseball at the very beginning.  A hat would be passed to buy bats and balls.  There were no paid umpires.  Practice balls would be taped together in order to save good balls for the games.

There was a practice field near Main Street in town during those years.  This often introduced younger boys to the game, who would get called home to take naps with ridicule by the older boys.

When the National Transit Pipe Line was being laid in the area there were enough players and Lub Watson, Charlie Watson’s son, organized the Pipeline Boys baseball team.  The players were digging the ditches for the pipeline during work hours by hand and playing baseball in the evening and on the weekends. 

Some of the early Pipeline Boys were Jack Vanvoy, Lub Watson, Bill Sheriden, John Marks, William Kline, Harry Shannon, Harry and William Marburger.

In 1919 there were a group of players called the Franklin Road Boys from out towards Cranberry who played Callery teams.  Some of the names were Paul Vandervort and his brother, Russ Croft, the Leonberg brothers, the Moore boys, the Robo boys, and a Browney boy.

There was a Zelienople Extension team who played ball against the Callery team also.  Callery players would sometimes ride their bicycles to Zelienople to play them.

Some of the Callery baseball team players in 1925 were John Kaufman, Hon Raley, Bill Marburger, Lloyd McClay, Fred Pfeifer, John Pfeifer, Ross Kline, Furman Swisher, Boldy Kline, and John Marburger.

In 1931 Jim Wohlgemuth asked the Callery players to join with the players from up by Old Union Presbyterian Church “so as to have enough talent to hold our own in the new league that was being formed by the Ellis boys of Mars.”

The teams were:  Callery, Mars Planets, Mars American Legion, Valencia, Gibsonia, and Allison Park.  It was considered a Pittsburgh Press League.

The Callery team consisted of Boldy and Ross Kline, Bill and Donnie Marburger, Fred Pfeiffer, Roy Johnston, Joe Book, Furman Swisher, Frank, Ralph, and Chester Cashdollar, Red Warnick, Roland Snow, and Jim Wohlgemuth.

Jim borrowed $5.00 from Frank Cashdollar to put with his $5.00 to enter the league.  Later Mr. George Strobel who was a supervisor on the railroad saw to it that the money was paid for the team.

Ross and Boldy Kline told that O.M. Johnson, the ticket agent for the railroad whose son played third base and George Strobel a Railroad Supervisor helped support the team.  The team members would sell tickets for a card party which was held at Henry Hall.  The book of tickets cost $1.00.

During these years Jim Wohlgemuth was the manager, Jim Robinson who was an active member with his wife at Crestview Church kept score and later turned score keeping over to Bessie Cashdollar Warnick.  Games were played Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Some of the umpires were Bill Miller, Fred Green, Chris Fredrick, Slim Ellis, Loyal Shakerly, Boots Shoup, O. M. Johnson, and Grant Dunbar.

This was the early baseball history that led to many more games to be played and the field is still being used today!