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Les Knutson: Bruce Meyer, Bob Thomas helped get '64 baseball title

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Les Knutson

Daily Globe sports columnist 

WORTHINGTON — In psychology, there is a term known as functional fixedness, which tends to lock a person into a certain thought, word or concept — or name — even if it is wrong.

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I believe that’s what happened to me earlier this week when I finished up my research and wrote a Blast From the Past about the 1964 Worthington Trojans, who won the District 8 high school baseball championship 50 years ago in late May.

I failed to catch it in my several proof-reads before submitting the story, but I noticed it when the feature was in “print” on Wednesday. Nobody else has pointed it out to me either. But, I goofed up the names of two of the key senior starters on that title team.

The starting left fielder for the Trojans in 1964 was Bruce Meyer and the starting shortstop was Bob Thomas. I incorrectly wrote them (in Wednesday’s story) as Jeff Meyer and Bruce Thompson.

I know Jeff Meyer. He is an annual Turkey Day 10K runner, brain tumor survivor and an avid sports fan. His son, Clint, is the new head boys’ basketball coach for the Trojans.

My functional fixedness must have typed in Jeff rather than Bruce. Then maybe, I was thinking Bruce and typed that rather than Bob. I have written about Ken Thompson before, so could that explain my Thompson rather Thomas error?

To make it correct, here was Coach Dan Regnier’s starting lineup (and batting order) in most games that spring, including the District 8 championship game against Luverne at Worthington’s Buss Field on May 27:

Leading off was senior second baseman Jeff Johnson, followed by senior shortstop Bob Thomas, senior pitcher Wayne Marcil, junior third baseman Jerry Griffith, senior left fielder Bruce Meyer, senior right fielder Keith Winter, junior first baseman Dennis Dreeszen, senior center fielder Dick Robertson and junior catcher Dick Horak.

Thomas was a slick fielder, who as the Trojans’s second batter put down his share of successful sacrifice bunts during that season, exemplifying Regneir’s legendary bunt and run tactics. He had a strong arm and had done some pitching for WHS earlier in his career.

Batting in the fifth spot, Meyer could hit with power and delivered a number clutch hits in 1964 for the Trojans, including a game-winning double in an early-season win over Pipestone at Buss Field. Out in left field, Meyer came through with several “web gems” with both his glove and arm.

There were two other errors in Wednesday’s story. One which can probably be blamed on functional fixedness and another which is traced back to Corky Brace.

Griffith, who was also a fine catcher, excelled for the Trojans in both football and basketball, as well as earning all-conference honors in baseball. I wrote that he had also excelled for the Trojans in both football and baseball.

Coach Regnier’s eyes

were brown, not blue

The other error was written by Brace 50 years ago — and it may, too, have involved functional fixedness.

The line from Brace’s district championship game story (a 6-2 Worthington win over Luverne) describing Regnier ran: “ … are masterminded by a veteran of many seasons with graying black hair, blue eyes and a willingness to argue with the men in blue.”

“I got my brown eyes from my dad,” Steve Regnier told me. “His eyes were brown, not blue.”

Either Brace was color blind or functional fixedness struck him as he was writing the story as he referred to the umpires as the men in blue. Corky may have had blue ready in his mind and it came out on the page. That’s what happens when functional fixedness sets in.

10 seniors, two

juniors selected as

All-Conference

There were just 12 players selected as All-Conference baseball players in 1964 from the eight-team Southwest Conference.

Gary Monson and Larry Mayer were chosen from conference champion Redwood Falls, while league runner-up (and Southern Division champion) Slayton was represented by pitchers Mike Kelley and Jim Johnson.

Division runner-ups Worthington and Windom each had two players honored, as Marcil and Griffith were joined by Eagles’ Dick Nelson and Roger Droegemueller.

The other four teams each had just one player selected. Gary “Butch” Stough from Jackson, Bill Toms from Luverne, Terry Porter from Marshall and Craig Johnson from Pipestone completed the 12-member squad.

Only Johnson and Griffith were juniors, while the other 10 were seniors. Both Porter (1963) and Toms (1964) were key contributors on back-to-back state basketball championship teams from the Southwest Conference.

Still lots of names to

recall from June 21

Blast From the Past

I listed a whole bunch of names in last month’s “Blast” (June 21), including those just mentioned (the ‘64 Southwest Conference baseball all-stars). What about Joe Pollock, Bill Davis, Dewey Markus, Ron Wojciak and Dave Hoffman. What were those five a big part of?

What about Bill Jeffrey and Steve Klassen — two short guys who had great years as all-around District 7 athletes in ‘63-64?

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