BASEBALL HISTORY: Mini series looks back at 40 legends
ONE of the pinnacles to achieve in any sport is to play for your country.
Far North Coast Baseball holds the distinction of having the most players, not only to represent their state but also to represent Australia, of all sports in our region.
No less than 40 baseballers have achieved this feat.
In a series of articles this week we cover all the players who achieved this honour.
1. Barry Wappett
The First FNC baseballer to gain Australian selection was Barry Wappett in 1956. Wappett played as catcher and appeared five times in the Australian team. He was part of the team that appeared at the 1956 Olympics and played in front of the largest ever crowd (113,000 spectators!) to witness a baseball game.
2. Barry Pratt
Pratt was honoured with Australian selection in 1958. He was a prominent pitcher and took part in the 1958, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1968 teams. Besides his selection in the Australian team, the highlight of Pratt's career was his selection in the all-time All Star NSW team.
3. Harold Crozier
Crozier was the third Far North Coast selection in the green and gold.
He played in 1960 at second base. He not only was a top ranked second baseman but was also a quality batter.
One of his highlights was batting in the winning run against South Australia in the Claxton Shield giving Queensland a 5-4 win.
4. Geoff Mould
Hot on the heels of Crozier was Geoff Mould, also in 1960. Mould played in Lismore and went on to form a club in Mullumbimby. In the Queensland team he played at centerfield, catcher and pitcher but was selected in the Australian team as a specialist catcher. He also won "The Northern Star Sportsman of the Week” after his selection.
5. Max Thompson
FNC Baseball's first junior Australian representative was in 1965 when Max Thompson gained selection as a pitcher.
When he was introduced to the game he played predominately at shortstop and it wasn't until 1964 that he tried his hand at pitching and excelled.
6. Rick Healy
Two more juniors took to the field for Australia in 1967, including Healy who was selected in the U16 team. Healy gained selection when he topped the fielding percentages, going errorless in 52 chances at the National Tournament.
He also took out the FNC Junior Sportsman of the Year in 1969.
7. Kevin O'Neill
The other junior selected in the U16 team was Kevin O'Neill. He topped the batting with a 0.428 average.
8. Ray Buckley
One of FNC Baseball's quickest base runners, Buckley gained national selection in 1967. Buckley stood out as a second baseman, outfielder and shortstop. Besides his Australian selection, his highlights included QLD selection in 1963-1970 and election into the Queensland Hall of Fame in 2004.
He won the FNC Sportsman of the Year in 1969.
See The Northern Star tomorrow for the next selection of legends in the series.