For every team that made it all the way, there are several more that could have been good enough but didn’t quite get there.
We remember the winners, but the stories of real great teams that failed are often lost in history. The story of a local baseball program, however, and its impressive three-year span almost 50 years ago will be perpetuated through a documentary that preserves the stories of the players and coaches who were there.
Boyle County baseball teams from 1973 to 1975 are the subject of a Sports History Foundation film that details the successes and failures of the rebels and the lasting friendships that resulted.
“Treasures of Black and Gold” premiered to the public on Saturday at the Boyle County Performing Arts Center, highlighting a story that would otherwise only exist in yellowed newspaper clippings, old score books and stories. told between teammates
Some players and coaches had attended a private screening a few months ago, but on Saturday they were joined by family members and others who had not seen the film.
“It humiliates me beyond belief,” said Tom Hollon, Boyle’s catcher during this time.
Boyle was 76-8 in the three seasons that are the subject of the documentary, a record that included a 40-game regular-season winning streak over two seasons. It was one of the most successful races for any Boyle track team in the early years of the school, which opened in 1963.
Players and coaches said in the film that they believe they have one of the best teams in the state and could have won several state championships in this race, but the fickle nature of knockout baseball in playoffs was not kind to the Rebels.
They only reached the state tournament once, in 1974, and they lost their only match there. They lost regional championship games to Lexington Schools in 1973 and 1975.
The Sports History Foundation, which was founded in 2013, has made several documentaries focused on teams or important moments in the history of sports in Kentucky High School. Executive Director David Mills said this story is a little different from the others.
“What was so important about this particular story is that there are so many (teams) that you don’t know and hear that were so close to winning a championship, to winning two championships, to win something that everyone is striving for, ”Mills said. “Think about all those teams that failed, and after the year all you remember is the team that won it.
“But what about the teams that didn’t quite make it? So that’s what made this story so interesting. The closeness to the team was what we remembered for the past few years. They didn’t win this championship, so it’s the tight-knit family they’ve been able to have during that time. It was a great story to tell.
The filmmakers used interviews, stories and photographs from The Advocate and other newspapers and photos from other sources to tell the story of the Boyle teams.
“I loved it. It’s amazing to be able to put it all together and recognize this team, those years,” said Bob Gorley, who coached these teams and saw the movie for the first time on Saturday. It’s special and I’m part of history.
Gorley, who was on Boyle’s baseball coaching staff for 11 seasons and was head coach from 1969 to 1975, said he liked the film to highlight the strong connection between these teams.
“You got to see the personal side of the players and the really genuine friendships that have developed between these teammates,” he said.
Both in the film and in interviews after the screening, players and coaches said these friendships only got stronger over time.
The Rebels have also fielded some pretty strong teams over the years. Known for sonic range, pitch depth, and aggressive playstyle, they have achieved remarkable success – although not as much as they wanted.
The 1973 Boyle team went 26-2, losing only to eventual state champion Henry Clay at the Central Kentucky Conference Championship and again in the regional final.
In 1974, the Rebels went 25-3 on their maiden trip to the State Tournament after beating a powerful Tates Creek team 4-1 for the program’s first regional title. At the state tournament in Morehead, they lost a first-round match to eventual runner-up Paducah Tilghman 1-0.
In 1975, they finished 25-3 after Tates Creek beat them in the regional final to deny them a second straight trip to the United States. Tates Creek reached the state semifinals.
“I thought I had the best team and I didn’t win so I feel bad about that,” Gorley said. Supposedly, the team from Tates Creek (1975) that beat us in the region final was the best team the state had ever seen at the time.
“We always had such a feeling of emptiness, especially that year, ’74. But it is okay; it’s also happened to a lot of other teams.
Third baseman Joe Beldon said he and his teammates are confident they have the best team in the state during that three-year span.
“We didn’t reach the ultimate goal, but that doesn’t make you think you weren’t the best team yet,” Beldon said.
Another player, Mike Brummett, said Boyle’s teams achieved a lot even though they didn’t get the title shot they wanted.
“We have accomplished something that we can be proud of, and we hope we will be kept in the history books down the road,” said Brummett. “I think there will be teams that are as good as us, maybe better, and maybe there have been, but that’s just very important to me.”
The film examines how the team came together, from mixing players who were on different teams in a successful Little League program, to setting aside individual glory to work towards a common goal at the high school level.
“I don’t remember the 40-game winning streak. I had no idea, ”said Brummett. “I remember it wasn’t important to us because all we cared about was getting out, lying down and having fun. We liked to play together. “
“And we didn’t care who did what as long as we won. I don’t remember any egos, ”Hollon added. “We were just happy we won, and we were one, and today we are brothers.”
It details each of the three seasons highlighted, spending time on the 1974 regional final and the state tournament game, as well as regional losses in 1973 and 1975.
He also devotes several minutes to a profile of brothers Paul and Mike Orberson, who are among the deceased team members.
“I know it means a lot to everyone involved, and we certainly miss the people who were not there and those who are no longer with us,” Gorley said.
Those who were part of it said it was a wonderful legacy for their children and grandchildren.
“I think it’s special for our grandchildren, even our great-grandchildren,” Brummett said.
“It really humbles me,” Beldon added. “My son Joey didn’t know any of that stuff, even when he was playing. We never talked about me playing baseball because he’s his own man, but he really enjoyed it today. That kind of thing, it just brings out the humility in you.
Mills said he was humbled to hear players talk about how the film touched them and brought back memories.
“They can tell their story on the screen, but then they hear what other people have said, and that just brings back those memories,” he said.
“It was a great story, and we wanted to cover it up and have something that would last a long time.”
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“Treasures of Black and Gold” is available from the Sports History Foundation. DVDs and Blu-ray discs are available, as well as annual subscriptions that provide online access to all of the foundation’s documentaries.
Visit sportshistoryfoundation.org for more information.
Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esd0VxzFcR0 to watch a “Treasures of Black and Gold” trailer.