Faribault Man Still Having a Ball at 92
Ray Sanders, 92, says his Dad always used to say, "Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
Mark Twain once said, "Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."
Sanders stopped by the Rice County Historical Society (RCHS) Museum today to donate 40 baseballs. These are not just any baseballs. They are memories of years gone by enjoying the game of baseball.
Sanders has enjoyed 40 years of being the baseball chairman for the Faribault American Legion Post 43 team. He would hire the coaches, oversee the budget.
Most of those 40 years the team signed a baseball and gave it to him in appreciation of his work.
I asked Ray why he donated all these special baseballs to the Rice County Historical Society. "Gordy, I thought this would be the best place. They have a great display area. People can come to Faribault. The players, the coaches, they can come down here and take a peek. See their name and year and stuff that they coached or played.
"I think it's great that I can do this. I'm trying to get rid of a lot of stuff at home because I have so much sporting stuff. I have a lot of memories. I think one of my highlights was a local former participant watched a number of games. His name was Dale Borgstahl."
"We had a game in honor of Dale and his family was there. His daughter sang the National Anthem. His son threw out the first pitch and we had a big ceremony (at Bell Field). There was a good crowd."
"He was the first person to donate any money to the American Legion Post 43 baseball program. I'm going to do something I hope. When I pass away I wanna leave something for the program too. It's in my blood. You know 40 years as chairman of this thing just gets to you."
Sanders was a third baseman on the 1945 and 1946 Legion teams. "We had good teams," he says, "Two of my sons played, Rory and Jason so I had a chance to follow them."
"We have over 350 Legion baseball teams in Minnesota and Faribault is proud to be one of them."
Susan Garwood, Rice County Historical Society Executive Director accepted the baseballs on behalf of the museum and says it definitely is a reminder for people to donate items for their collection.
"Everything we have in our collection is because somebody took a moment and thought to make sure people in the future can see this and remember it. We're grateful for donations such as this. I especially appreciate this because not only does he donate the balls but he also told us the history about them."
"As I've told you many times Gordy, we don't collect things. We collect stories those things can tell. Because of some newspaper clippings and stories Ray told here today we really have a great understanding of the importance of these baseballs."
Sanders pointed out, "Last year there was no Legion baseball. I'm sure glad we're back to having the program back because that is a tremendous program. It's one of the top programs the Legion does."
The past Commander of the American Legion Post 43, Korean War Vet has been Chairman of the Donations Committee for so many years he can't put a number to it. "The highest donations we ever gave in one year was $70,000, but we've had to cut back now because things have slowed down."
In fact Sanders is unhappy the Legion could not afford to fund the entire team experience this year. " It's the first year each player had to pay about $165 to participate in the Legion program in Faribault. That's kinda tough for me to take because it was always, you know, we paid for everything. Plus we paid them mileage when they went out of town to play."
If you want to make a baseball man happy please consider making a donation to the Faribault American Legion Post 43 baseball program.
Sanders is still the baseball chairman and says he isn't stepping down yet because he is still, "Having a ball."
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I know Ray Sanders was Chairman of the Bruce Smith Golf Tournament for a number of years and enjoys the game so check this out.