By John Hicks|
Times Sports Writer
If 17 year old John Sanderson of Peckville, Pa. is a typical rookie, the major leagues are going to have quite a collection of dedicated players in the next few years.
Sanderson was graduated from Blakely High School in Peckville this spring and was signed by Houston scout Harry Dorish at midnight after he was graduated.
Sanderson was an all around athlete in high school, playing baseball, football, and basketball. He turned down a scholarship at a Pennsylvania college to become a major league rookie.
On the field at Cocoa, .45's Manager Dave Philley, former major league player, is "tops" in Sanderson's words. "He says it--you do it. I learned more baseball here in a month here than I learned in four years at home."
The first weeek the ballplayer had some adjustments to make. It was the first time he had been awayfrom home and the first time he had been in Florida. He adjusted quickly. "You have to hustle," he remarked. You have to use your abilities."
As far as being able to take the routine, "I never had any doubts," he said.
Sanderson's roomate is Hank Zelno, a pitcher from a town right next to Peckville. "We've played baseball with each other ever since Little League." Commenting on his teammates and other rookies in general, Sanderson said, they're all great guys. I get along with most all of them."
An interesting sidelight on the rookie player is the manner in which he was scouted. "I was scouted as a junior in high school. Ihad a lot of offers from clubs like the Phillies, the Tigers, and the White Sox."The Phils' scout kept a lot of charts on me and I even signed a few cards for him. Harry Dorish of the Colts kept in close contact and was at a lot of my ball games."
Source: The Florida Times, July 25, 1964
The article transcripted above was one of a series of three published by The Times that summer on the short-lived Cocoa Rookie League. There is another story on Larry Dierker--which I hope to get for Astroland at some point--and another still on Melbourne Twin Rod Carew. |
John Sanderson did not, of course, "make it big" in the major leagues. He didn't even "return to Cocoa in the spring." Sanderson--now a lawyer with offices in Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania--tells Astroland, "After I played in the summer of 1964, I made the decision to return to school to pursue a career in law. I had my shot in baseball and it was a great experience."
Astroland is of course indebted to Mr. Sanderson for providing the article, which sheds light not only on his short career in the Houston organization, but also illuminates a short-lived, but influential league whose concept would find its eventual refinement in the very successful complex/instructional leagues like the Gulf Coast that were to follow.