The value of a farm system

Organizers of the past realized the importance of having young players ready to take over for veterans.

People like the late Merv Klemett, Rick Miller and Leo Durocher were especially aware of that factor.

Klemett had great success in the Twilight League by having a few youngsters prepared to step forward for his Bancroft teams in the 1960s and early 1970s.

“Merv (Klemett) always had an eye out for promising young talent,” said Mark Halkola, who developed into a solid pitcher for Bancroft. “He definitely believed you had to have a farm system of sorts.”

Miller, who learned under Klemett in his younger playing days, followed a similar plan when he helped build the powerful Superior National Bank teams in the early 1970s and earl 1980s.

He did develop a group of players (Doug Larson, Dennis Raasio, Dave Plowe, John Hosking) to name a few.

But he also brought along younger players like Tim Kearly and Larry Asiala to keep the team strong.

“I know Rick was a firm believer that you had to bring along younger players to stay competitive,” Raasio once said.

Durocher did the same in Stanton — only over an extended period.

He had a corps of strong players (Floyd Wakeham, Dennis Sten and Dapper Ruohonen) to mold a contender for many years.

Durocher, the best hitter I ever saw in the Twilight League, had a built-in edge when several of his relatives, including four sons, were coached into good players.

One of those sons, Daron Durocher, has maintained that tradition over the past decade or better.

Now, a new era of sports have sprung up in the area in the form of women’s softball.

Only around for a few years, girls softball has produced some strong teams. And they’ve done it such a way that players from the same schools often end up those teams.

Now, the girls have organized a summer league. By doing that, teams will be able to stay sharp and cultivate some younger talent.

It’s the same model that was used by baseball managers of a bygone era.

And that system can work very well ….