This article was submitted to us by letterwinner Kathryn Sale Sedberry (Tennis ’89-’92) who wrote in to bring recognition to her father, Richard Sale (Baseball ’58-’59) and the story of his lifelong friendships with his Baylor baseball teammates, affectionately know as the Paw Bears of the 50’s.
In the fall of 1955 an eclectic group of 17 and 18-year-old freshman baseball players enrolled in Baylor University. There were fifteen of them; most played four years together. They came from small towns in four different states, and, with one exception, they were all total strangers.
Now, sixty-five years later, seven of these players still meet regularly to ruminate and reminisce. The 1955 freshman team included: Herb Alpenfels, Wheat Ridge, CO., Bob Baker, Mineral Wells, TX., Bob Cullison, Skiatook, OK., Bill Dennis, Cleburne, TX., Buddy Humphrey, Kilgore, TX., Gerald Johnson, Waco, TX., Fred Marbury, Mexia, TX., Butch McCollum, Alexandria, LA., Don O’Neal, Ft. Worth, TX., Rudy Raughton, Paint Creek, TX., Don Riddle, Waco, TX., Richard Sale, (my dad), Haynesville, LA., Pat Sisk, Emory, TX., Wayne Thompson, Temple, TX., and Oscar Turner, Dallas, TX. A few of the players had baseball scholarships, but most were “walk-on-hopefuls.” Bill Dennis, Buddy Humphrey and Pat Sisk had football scholarships.
The seven who have remained close friends include: Baker, Cullison, Johnson, Raughton, Riddle, Sisk, and my dad. This group, all of whom are well into their eighties, have been gathering annually since 1996. Mr. Cullison told me, “we started gathering down at Horseshoe Bay; then we met a few times in Waco, and lately we’ve been meeting at my little place here on Monkey Island, Oklahoma.” The former baseball teammates have ranged widely in their professional careers since graduating from Baylor. Sisk left Baylor in 1958, prior to graduation, to play professional baseball. He returned to Baylor and graduated in 1962. Mr. Riddle said, “The rest of our little group graduated on schedule in 1959, but I didn’t get it done until January of 1960.” No two of the seven have had similar careers. Raughton was a public school teacher, coach, and administrator in Roscoe, Texas, until his retirement. Cullison was a state legislator in Oklahoma, first in the House of Representatives, and then he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate and served as President pro tem. Baker has enjoyed his entrepreneurship throughout various states across the South and overseas. Johnson moved from his home state of Texas to Louisiana, where he was a successful businessman, and served 18 years as Mayor of DeRidder, Louisiana. After Sisk left professional baseball and graduated from Baylor, he enjoyed a long and successful career in East Texas, where he owned and operated automobile dealerships in Mt. Pleasant and Longview. Riddle continued his education at the University of Houston Law Center and spent his working years as an attorney in Houston. My dad enjoyed a long career in banking in Shreveport, Louisiana.
All seven have children and grandchildren and enjoy sharing stories at the annual gatherings. Mr. Sisk quipped, “I don’t think that you can find seven old geezers that started as strangers when freshmen in college, and who still re-group and socialize regularly after 60 years. We tell the same old stories about our days in the sun together and sometimes somebody remembers something new.” When I asked my dad to describe what these seven ex-athletes’ claim to fame is, he said, “We have really ‘flung the Green and Gold afar’, and have helped light some folks’ lives—including our own!”
1955 Freshman Baseball Team Picture: ROW 1: (left to right) Herb Alpenfels, Pat Sisk, Butch McCollum, Bob Baker, Wayne Thompson. ROW 2: (left to right) Bob Cullison, Richard Sale, Gerald Johnson, Don O’Neal. ROW 3: (left to right) Buddy Humphrey, Bill Dennis, Don Riddle, Rudy Raughton, Fred Marbury, Oscar Turner.
2019 Gathering –Monkey Island, Oklahoma (left to right:) Don Riddle, Pat Sisk, Richard Sale, Bob Baker, Bob Cullison, Gerald Johnson, Rudy Raughton.
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