June 27, 2012 — Butte American Legion baseball was once a popular summer time passion here in Butte.
The local club has won four state titles through the years. The first came in 1936 under the guidance of manager Ed Gerry. The Miners bested the perennial power at the time,
Miles City, in the state finals. The Butte club was once again on top ten years later in 1946. The team was led by the double play combination of second basemen Wilbur Johnson and shortstop Jim McCaughey along with pitcher Jim Sweeney. Three years later in 1949 the Butte team won the state championship at Clarks’ Park here in Butte beating Great Falls in the finals. The Mining City club had to come through the losers’ bracket after being whipped by Great Falls earlier in the tournament. The club featured Tom Mulcahy, John Frankino, Gus Janhunen, Jim Hanley, “Sly” Jim Sullivan and Tom Kelly. The final title for the Butte program took place in 1953. The Miners were coached by Jim Kello and were led by Don Williamson. The team beat Billings in the finals. Since then it’s been 59 years and counting for another state crown. The Butte team managed to reach the finals in both 1960 and 1962 before losing to Billings. The program was disbanded for two years in 1967 and 1968. Since the revival only once in 1980 has the program come close to smelling the top. They placed third at the state finals held in Billings. This year the club is down in numbers with only 16 players. They have yet to win a league game. Here is hoping more interest is shown in American Legion baseball and it can someday return to its glory years.