The Woodward News

Sports

April 8, 2014

50-year reunion scheduled

Tom Gregory and other organizers are looking to mark 50 years of summer baseball history in Woodward this year.

Gregory, a Woodward High School graduate and All-Stater, played for the Woodward Travelers during his summers as did hundreds of others over the years.

Bob Ward took over the Traveler program in 1964 and brought young men together from schools throughout Northwest Oklahoma as well as the Texas Panhandle and Kansas, forming them into teams that excelled against the nation's best.

His baseball legacy includes two state championships, numerous other state tournament appearances and a trip to the 1985 American Legion World Series.

Alumni from the program includes hundreds of college players, several pro players and four who made it to the show called Major League Baseball - Don Carman, Monty Fariss, Ryan Minor and Damon Minor.

Scores of Traveler alums are still involved in baseball in one fashion or another while others have carved out careers in virtually every area.

Traveler teams over the years played from Nevada to Boston and from the Houston Astrodome to South Dakota.

Today the Travelers are directed by Mike McDonald, a member of the 1985 World Series team. Success has continued under his leadership with  with 3 state level tournament championships (2 Oklahoma Town League and 1 Connie Mack) in the last 4 years.

Some things have changed. The Travelers are not part of the American Legion baseball scene these days - few teams in the state actually are anymore - but play as an independent. And there is a new, modern version of Fuller Park that opened in 2010.

The Travelers' name is recognized nearly everywhere. It's not unusual to run into someone who played for or against Woodward over the years just about anywhere you go.

The 50 years of history is the focus of the reunion planned by Gregory and friends on May 30-31.

"A Gathering of Travelers," celebrating the program from 1964 through 2014 is the name of the reunion.

"It's quite a milestone for many," Gregory noted in a recent letter to The News. "I know that I would not have gone on to so many successful aspects of my life if it had not been for the Traveler organization."

Gregory said so far the entire 1964 team has notified organizers they will be there - some coming from as far as Hawaii and South Florida.

He is expecting many other former players to be on hand to renew acquaintances and swap a story or two or a 100. Bob Ward will be there as well.

Here is the reunion schedule:

Friday, May 30

Meet and Greet at 6:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge Banquet Room

Saturday, May 31

Golf outing at Boiling Springs Golf Course

Saturday afternoon reception

Traveler baseball game in the evening and more afterwards.

Gregory said along with former players, people who were associated and played key roles in the Traveler organization are invited as well.

Just let organizers know by May 15.

Here is some contact information:

Tom Gregory - Qualisurg@aol.com, 214-697-0137

Bernie Dunlap - bernie@homelnmtg.com

John Boone - pokeluvr52@gmail.com

Bob Ward - 580-254-1393

Jerry Arnold - 405-203-8082

There is also a Facebook page devoted to Traveler alumni - just search for Traveler's Alumni Association to join.

Johnny McMahan is managing editor of the Woodward News.

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