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The day the Korean War ended

By Don Hohler • May 2, 2019 at 2:00 PM

The date was July 27, 1953. Certainly, a day in infamy. It was the day the Korean War ended.

The official time the shooting ended was 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. For those who had loved ones on the front lines, it was a sigh of relief. I am sure many dropped to their knees and said a prayer of thanks including my parents who had a son stationed in a warehouse in Japan. He would have two brothers-in-law in the thick of action. Both returned safely.

Unfortunately, there was one small arms battle where lives were lost between the signing of the truce and the actual cease fire. Sadly, there were lives lost. An enemy shell also landed in an American position just five minutes before the cease fire. There were no lives lost.

Even before the cease fire, the exchange of some 3,113 American prisoners was already underway.

How true were the words of our Allied Supreme Commander Mark W. Clark that morning when he said, “I must tell you emphatically that this does not mean an immediate or even early withdrawal of our troops from Korea.”

Just hours before the signing at Panmunjom, American Sabrejet pilot Capt. Ralph Parr from Apple Valley, Calif., was credited with the last “kill” of the conflict. He shot down a twin-engine Russian-built transport plane 12 miles from the Manchurian border.

Three days later, the story broke that Boston Red Sox slugger, Ted Williams, would be discharged (He was a Marine Corps jet pilot) to join his club and help them try and cut the New York Yankee American Lead which had reached 7 1/2 games.

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Dick Heaston will long-remember his mound performance in the 1953 Knothole League championship game. It was a no-hit, 3-0 performance as his Mantles stopped the Rosens. The only thing that stopped perfection was an intentional pass given to the league’s top hitter, John Tien, in the sixth inning.

There should have been an asterik after the boxscore, however. The losers, who were players from the Bronson School baseball team, had no left or right fielders. The team took the field with seven players. To make up for the voids, second-baseman Danny Potts moved out into short-center when Mantle power hitters came to the plate.

Losing pitcher, Tien, allowed just five hits.

The winners scored in the second when John Francisco reached on an error, stole third and then scored on a Dick Paplinski single. They added an insurance run in the sixth when Kevin Swick singled, took second on a passed ball and scored on a Francisco double.

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The Knothole League ended the season with a unique exhibition game as all of the teams took the field for two innings of play.

The final top batting averages were released. The list read like this: John Tien .706, Jim Cooper .650, Dale Beach .615, Herm Lorcher .600, Norb Pelham .583, Marv Adelman .500, Jim Carter .500, Bob Mitchell .500, Russ Mantz .500, Dick Heaston .461, Tom Westrick .461, John Francisco .412, Dale McCreery .400.

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The ad read “LOOK AT THIS PRICE.”

It was referring to a new 1953 Buick sedan delivered out-the-door from Ebert Motor Sales for $2,232.88.

And get this! It had Buick’s high-compression Fireball 8 engine.

Called a milllion-dollar ride with big-car roominess, it had a lot of bells and whistles including directional signals, a cigarette lighter, dual map lights, twin sunshades, a trip mileage indicator, a automatic glove box light, an oil bath air cleaner, a vacuum pump and yes, even bumper guards, front and rear.

This is interesting. For an additional $67.36, the firm would install a heater and defroster.

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The Willard Elks-Pioneer Club, behind a pair of four-hitters by Gib Smith, won the Huron County Softball crown, beating Norwalk’s Shamrock Tavern twice, 2-1 and 8-1.

The Shamrocks, using a one-hitter, 1-0 win from Jim Frey in a quarter-final game, needed just one win to take the title.

Chuck Sweet, who had a regular-season win over the Elks, lost the first game in extra-innings but then ran out of gas in the second, needing relief help from George Hamerick. Ironically, it was Smith who drove in the winning run in the ninth of the first game.

King Jameson drove in the lone run for the Shamrocks, plating Snag Sanders.

The hitting stars for the Elks were Bob Bohn, Harold Biller, Alan Cox, Bill Coburn and Smith.

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The game was said to be one of the best games ever played at McGuan Park. It was the 1953 County Tournament game between Shamrock Tavern and Norwalk Parts, one won by the Shamrock, 1-0.

Chuck Sweet won the game with a one-hitter.

It was scoreless until the seventh when the winners put together hits, one of them the RBI single by Snag Sanders, driving in Jack Edwards.

Sweet fanned three and walked two while Eddie Zureich suffered the loss.

What made the game so unforgettable was both teams made unbelievable plays in the infield with neither club making an error.

In the second game that night, the Willard Elks-Pioneer, behind the 13-strikeout performance of Gib Smith, won handily over Brunswick Grill of Willard, 9-2.

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The society page featured a wedding picture of Donald Knight, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Knight, rural Norwalk, and Clotien Row, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ollie Row, rural Greenwich. The Rev. George Bell officiated the ceremony at the Olena Presbyterian Church. The matron of honor was Mrs. Corwin Funk, the sister of the bride, while Robert W. West, Omah, NE, the uncle of the groom, was the best man.

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On a sad note, Sen. Robert Taft, 63, died of cancer in a New York hospital. His life-long hope would never be realized, that to follow in his father’s footsteps, becoming president of the United States.

To those who read this column and would like me to touch on other subjects, shoot me an e-mail. I’ll do what I can to accommodate you. The address is [email protected]

Don Hohler is a longtime Reflector sportswriter.

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