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Lloyd Hittle's Letter

Lloyd Hittle

Pitcher | Class of '46 & '47

"I started with the Stockton Ports in July of 1946. Someone advised me to go over and pitch batting practice for the Ports. I did and they signed me up. I started my first pro game on July 31st. Pitched all nine innings, gave up one run, three hits and struck out nine. At the time the Ports had lost seven games in a row and I guess I broke the jinx. In my first season I won five of the games I pitched.

Being picked to start the season against San Jose was heaven in itself. I was walking in tall cotton and had butterflies in my stomach at the same time. Glad I won the game. I lost eight pounds in doing so. Good way to lose weight. Pitched a nine-inning ball game.

Baseball was a lot different then. The team would get on an old bus usually driven by the trainer and head down the valley to towns like Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Visalia or over to Santa Barbara. Now this bus isn't like the ones they ride in today, so if you wanted air conditioning, you rolled the windows down. The bus would only go 45 miles an hour. We all had fun though.

The club prayed as a team. That is why we won 26 ball games in a row without losing any games. We celebrated too much that night and the next day we didn't make it 27 in a row. Jonh Babich said so much for that. We went on to win 13 more games if I recall correctly.

Babich as a manager was great. He knew all his players and his pitching staff. You knew he would always look out for his players.

The fans were great and they enjoyed the team. They even looked out for our families. Stockton was a great baseball town and they really enjoyed our games.

All in all, 1946 and 1947 were fun seasons and family get-togethers. They don't do that today. This is where baseball is different from years past."

--Lloyd Hittle (Stockton Ports, 1946-47)