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Tony Pearce brought style to golden era of baseball

The highest level of entertainment, through the classic rivalries, the grace of nifty fielders with ballet-like movement, and raw prodigious power at the plate, could be experienced during the golden era of baseball in this country.

That period would be the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s. Some of the greatest athletes ever produced in our land, provided the brightest spotlight in sports and attracted a following second to none. Not even cricket attracted the volume of fans regularly, comparable to the diamond sport during the aforementioned years.

Baseball was king. The game had it all.

During the 1950s and part of the 1960s, Clifford Park was the venue that fans flocked to for their fill of the diamond prowess of the likes of Andre Rodgers, Anthony Curry, Edmundo Moxey, Zack Patton, Lionel Rodgers, Vince Ferguson, Phil Francis and Basil Hall. They went to watch a couple of future Catholic deacons who were as comfortable on the field as they would later be on the altar. I refer to Liviticus Adderley and Raymond Forbes. Then, there was the young Lorenzo Lockhart.

When the baseball scene moved to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre at the Andre Rodgers Park, the sport continued to churn out glamorous stars with blazing fastballs, body-jerking change-ups, dart-throwing arms and the look of major leaguers afield and at the plate.

There was the very round and jovial Colin Thompson who could argue with the best of them, but he would laugh just as easily. Thompson gets my vote for being the most dynamic home-run hitter ever.

I know. There will be many opposing views. Curry, Edmundo, Barrie Farrington, Eddie Ford, Will Culmer, Dencil Clarke,’Big’Hercules Dean and Crestwell Pratt could hit the ball a ton. To me though, they were not as electrifying as Thompson was. He energized the game to another level whether he got wood on the ball or struck out.

Roy Rodgers and Anthony Huyler danced around first base. Sidney’Butts’Outten was rock solid behind the plate. Sonny Haven was silky with the glove on the infield at short. Ford could master the flight of anything hit directly at him or anywhere in his vicinity in the outfield, and then there was the novelty aspect.

Toward the end of the golden era, there was’Mr. Cool’, Anthony Pearce.

He brought an element of style to the game that gave baseball another dimension. Although they called him’Hot Dog’, he never dogged it. Wherever he was playing, he would effortlessly go through his routine in that super cool Jerry Butler iceman kind of style.

Pearce did not come near the greats in natural talent, but, he had that flair. He brought pizzazz to the game. He was not outlandishly flamboyant. The’Hot Dog’was simply elegant in his Vat 19 Teenagers baseball uniform. He was’Mr. Cool’on the field.

Indeed, he was one of the characters(too many to name in this column)who put that golden stamp on a very special era of baseball. We might never see such a collection again. They made baseball a glorious social outing time and time again.

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