Benton High posted a 27-10 record this season and was the only Bossier Parish baseball team that won more than one game in the state playoffs.
The Tigers ended their season with an 8-6 quarterfinal loss to Teurlings Catholic of Lafayette. In the first two rounds of the Class 4A playoffs, Benton beat Salmen 1-0 and Minden 6-3.
Haughton (18-18) was the only other Bossier Parish baseball team that won one playoff game this season, beating St. Paul (Covington) 5-1 in a Class 5A playoff opener before falling to West Monroe, 8-0. The only other Bossier Parish teams that qualified for the playoffs were eliminated in the first round, as Airline (19-16) fell to Zachary 0-10 and Bossier High (16-15) fell to South Beauregard 10-0.
In recent years, Bossier City’s most memorable contribution to major league baseball was Joey Belle, who grew up playing Dixie baseball at Walbrook Park. His family later moved to Shreveport, and Joey was a high school standout at Huntington before he went on to play major league baseball with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
In 1995, he became the first player to hit 50 doubles and 50 home runs in a single season. He was also the first player to break the $10 million dollar per year contract barrier.
Albert “Joey” Belle compiled a .295 career batting average in the major leagues, and averaged 37 home runs and 120 runs batted in per season between 1991 and 2000. He was also one of only six players in major league history to drive in 100 runs in nine consecutive seasons.
Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx drove in 100 runs 13 years in a row, and were later inducted into the pro baseball Hall of Fame. Belle did it nine years in a row, from 1992 to 2003, playing for Cleveland the first seven years and Baltimore the last two.
Whether any current players manage to put up comparable numbers remains to be seen, but it is not likely.
At the end of his 12-year major league career, Belle’s .564 slugging percentage was 14th on the all-time list. He also had a .295 career batting average. But a degenerative hip condition ended his career after the 2000 season.
At that time, Belle was one of only four players to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs eight years in a row. Foxx and Gehrig both did it nine years in a row, and Belle shared third place with Babe Ruth. The longest streak for Hank Aaron, who held the career record for runs batted in, was five. The longest streak for Mel Ott, the only other Louisiana product in the all-time Top Ten, was three.
Adcock made major league baseball history on July 31, 1954.
In five trips to the plate at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, he hit four runs and a double that came within six inches of clearing the center field fence. That gave him 25 total bases in two consecutive games, tying a major league record set by Ty Cobb in 1925.
Many years later, Adcock recalled his last at-bat that day. The first pitch by Dodgers relief pitcher Johnny Podres hit the dirt two feet in front of the plate. The next pitch hit the screen, and Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella couldn’t reach the third pitch. When Campanella went to the mound to talk to Podres, umpire Dusty Boggess said, “You might as well throw your bat at it, Joe. They’re not going to give you anything to hit.”
The next pitch was a couple of feet over his head, but Adcock got up on his tip-toes and , swinging the bat like he would swing an ax back on his Coushatta farm, knocked the ball into the center field seats for his longest homer of the day.
Jerry Byrd is the former sports editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune and an award-winning columnist. You can contact him by E-mail at email@example.com