Youth baseball players recreate team photograph 50 years later - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Youth baseball players recreate team photograph 50 years later

The 1967 Long Beach Dixie Youth All Star team re-creates their team photograph with their coach, Duain Blackwell. (Photo source: WLOX) The 1967 Long Beach Dixie Youth All Star team re-creates their team photograph with their coach, Duain Blackwell. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

It’s been 50 years since the players of Long Beach’s Dixie Youth All Star team last got together.

The idea for a reunion and team photo recreation came to Eddie Holmes after finding the team picture in a scrapbook. He decided the 50th anniversary of the 1967 team was a good time to reminisce about a game they all loved.

Ten of the 13 players made it to the celebration.

“That’s what we did," Holmes said. “We played baseball all the time.”

But the reunion photograph party really was in honor of 90-year-old Duain Blackwell, their coach.

“I can’t recall a game we went home unhappy,” Blackwell said. “Even though we might have lost.”

The reunion photograph was supposed to be at the original location, but when they learned Blackwell was recovering from hip surgery at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, the players brought the party to him.

"We wanted to have him in the picture more than we wanted to have it at the original site, because he was such an inspiration to all of us,” Holmes said. “He was such a role model.”

His meticulous statistics - on full display - were like a history book.

“He coached me from the time I came into the league,” said former player Kevin Webb. “In fact, my last year, they had an opening for two more teams and my father took one of those teams and I stayed with Mr. Blackwell. My dad was a little mad at me about that, but Mr. Blackwell is a very good man and I enjoyed playing for him.”

Blackwell’s son, Dennis Blackwell, wasn’t an all-star, but he says his dad made all players feel like one.

“I was a bad player,” Dennis said with a chuckle. “But he let me play every year. Every game, everybody got to play. That’s one thing that everybody liked about my dad. He let everybody play.”

All say his impact was big.

“Well, I hope so,” Duain said. “I hope it was a good impact. Because it’s been a good impact on me.”

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