League celebrates 50 years

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Youth league baseball in Natchez has come a long way in the past 50 years.

From humble beginnings of six teams and 90 children to the multi-league, multi team format that today serves more than 450 players, the youth leagues in Natchez have always been about the players.

A celebration of the impact of Natchez Dixie Youth baseball will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Carroll-Jones Field during closing ceremonies for its 50th season.

&uot;We want all the teams to be there, and every player in the league will receive a trophy,&uot; Clarence Bowlin said. &uot;The mayor, members of the recreation board and other community leaders will be there.&uot;

The league was the brain child of Newt Jones and Bill Carroll, who in 1951 decided the youth of Natchez needed organized baseball.

&uot;They (Jones and Carroll) saw other towns with their own leagues, and decided the children of Natchez needed one as well,&uot; Bowlin said.

It is appropriate that the 50th anniversary ceremony will be held on Carroll-Jones Field, named after the men who founded the league.

Bowlin climbed on board when he returned from serving in the military in 1952. He has been working with the league every year since.

&uot;The secret to the success of the Natchez Dixie Youth is its board of directors,&uot; Bowlin said. &uot;We have 12 members on the board, but only one actually has a son in the program. Most have been helping for more than 25 years, they have a lot of dedication and make sure everything runs smoothly.&uot;

While Bowlin thinks the league is healthy, he does believe it needs one thing.

&uot;We have more than 400 kids playing on just three fields,&uot; he said. &uot;Natchez is in dire need for a recreation complex.&uot;

Saturday’s festivities begin at 5 p.m. with league players participating in various games.

Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binky&uot; Vines will provide hamburgers for everyone and at 7 p.m. the official ceremonies will begin.

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