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Logan StoryCorps: Softball was central to this Wellsville boy's life

 Mark Baldwin faces the camera. He has a full head of white hair, and displays a half smile, higher on the right corner of his face. He wears a gold chain necklace and a striped blue white and red polo shirt with the first button open.
Mark Baldwin at his StoryCorps appointment in Logan Utah.

KIRSTEN SWANSON: It's time again for Utah StoryCorps. Everyday people sharing their stories at the StoryCorps recording booth in Logan.

MARY HEERS: Mark Baldwin came into the StoryCorps booth to tell us how growing up in Wellsville meant baseball was a central part of a boy's life.

MARK BALDWIN: We had four or five guys that lived right there in the neighborhood. And we just all kind of hung out, you know, because we didn't have cars or anything. We had bikes. A few of us had horses, and we walked everywhere we go.

We had about the same interests; we could go up on the square and play softball or baseball. When we was that young, why, we used to have a tennis ball, and we had a broomstick that was cut off about three feet. And that's what we use for a bat. And we'd go up there and we'd play all afternoon and then we'd go from the square across the street.

And we had a little cafe there. And the lady that run it, she just kinda looked for us every day. And she used to make us a drink, and it was a little bit of everything. It was root beer, Pepsi, Coke, orange, whatever was there. She'd make us a drink. Soon as she'd see us coming across the street, she'd have them all set there on the counter when we got through. We had a good time.

In those days we didn't have little league baseball. What we had was softball. It was fast-pitch softball. And we had people in that day and age that could throw a softball 85, 90 mile an hour. So it was going pretty good.

Each ward had their own team. And then we have a league in the valley. And we'd have championship games. And then if you was really good, why you got to All Church, and that was down in Salt Lake. And teams came from all over the world to play in this softball tournament. And Wellsville First Ward was lucky enough to win it one year.

After we got married and stuff, why, we had this team — all the guys that played on it was from Wellsville. We hooked up with this team from Ogden and we got a sponsor so we could travel. We went all over the country. We'd go to California and Arizona and we was playing all these top-notch teams. And we could hold our own. We had a good team and we had a lot of fun. And probably the best part about the whole thing is it was — it was like a family vacation. When we went to play ball most of the time the family got to go. And to this day, why you know, we still — we know those people and we know their kids and we keep track of each other.

MARY HEERS: And this is Utah StoryCorps.

KIRSTEN SWANSON: Thanks for coming along.

MARY HEERS: See you next Friday. Same time—

KIRSTEN SWANSON: —same place.

KIRSTEN SWANSON: Support for Logan StoryCorps comes from Cache County and from USU Credit Union, a division of Goldenwest.

Kirsten grew up listening to Utah Public Radio in Smithfield, Utah and now resides in Logan. She has three children and is currently producing Utah StoryCorps and working as the Saturday morning host on UPR. Kirsten graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree History in 2000 and dual minors in Horticulture and German. She enjoys doing voice work, reading, writing, drawing, teaching children, and dancing. Major credits include StoryCorps, Utah Works, One Small Step, and the APTRA award-winning documentary Ride the Rails.
Mary got hooked on oral histories while visiting Ellis Island and hearing the recorded voices of immigrants that had passed through. StoryCorps drew her to UPR. After she retired from teaching at Preston High, she walked into the station and said she wanted to help. Kerry put her to work taking the best 3 minutes out of the 30 minute interviews recorded in Vernal. Passion kicked in. Mary went on to collect more and more stories and return them to the community on UPR's radio waves. Major credits to date: Utah Works, One Small Step, and the award winning documentary Ride the Rails.
Check out our past StoryCorps episodes.