TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOKS: Smittys nickname part of history
The Aberdeen baseball community honored the memory of former Aberdeen Smittys baseball player Bryce Anglin, who died of cancer on April 24, on the opening night of the State A American Legion Tournament at Fossum Field in Aberdeen. The Bryce Anglin Baseball Forever Fund has been established. That resulted in the first Bryce Anglin Teammate Award Scholarship, which was presented to Smittys player Zach Reierson, who is getting a hug from Anglin¿s mom Jeanette. Her husband Greg is to the right. The 2008 state champion Smittys were also introduced. Bryce was a member of that team. American News Photo by John Davis (August 3, 2012)
They are the Aberdeen Smittys, Rapid City Post 22 Hardhats and the Brookings Bandits. Earlier this season, an Aberdeen Smittys fan asked how the nickname came to be. Here is what research I could find.
Smitty is generally a nickname for someone whose last name is Smith. The Aberdeen Legion Post 24 was named after Sidney L. Smith. The following information is the Aberdeen Sidney L. Smith history web page.
The American Legion formed in Aberdeen in 1919.
“The post chose the name of Sidney L. Smith, in honor of Private First Class Smith who was killed in action while serving as a dispatch runner in Soissons, France, July 20, 1918, as part of Co. L, 18th U.S. Infantry, 1st Div. While born in Canton, Ill., (1896) and having gone to military school in Roswell, N.M., Sidney L. Smith had moved to Aberdeen in 1915 and had joined the military as part of the South Dakota National Guard.
He was stationed at Camp Pontis in Mobridge when he transferred to the 148th Machine Gun Battalion.
“He later transferred again to the 1st Infantry Division, 18th Brigade, Company L, where he saw action at the Battle of Cantigny, and was in the trenches for 70 days at Montdidier, France. In Fosh’s big drive, Smith’s company took part in the battle of Chateau-Thierry and then Sessions, where he was listed as missing in action for nine months before Congressman Royal C. Johnson assisted the Red Cross’ efforts to determine his fate.
“Smith’s status was changed from MIA and a telegram was sent to his family from the adjutant general’s office at Washington, D.C., it reads as follows: ‘Pvt. Sidney L. Smith, Infantry previously reported severely wounded in action between July 18 and July 24, now reported Killed in action July 20.’ ” The Smittys nickname is based on a historical veteran.
Sports writer Deb Smith
Two of the most prized baseball college recruits in South Dakota are playing in the Legion State A Tourney in Aberdeen this week: Landon Busch of Brookings and Alex Schultz of Sioux Falls East.
Busch will be playing college baseball at Kansas State and Schultz at Nebraska-Omaha.
Their families have a history of competing against each other.
In the mid-1980s, two of the best quarterbacks in the North Central Conference were Landon’s dad Mike Busch and Alex’s dad John Schultz. Mike played for South Dakota State and John for Augustana College. Both were school record holders. Busch played for the New York Giants in 1987, while Schultz also drew interest from the pros, including the USFL.
Sports writer John Papendick
Smittys state titles
When the Aberdeen Smittys won the 2008 State A Legion Tournament at Fossum Field in Aberdeen, it marked the first Legion title since 1964, a drought of 44 years.
The 1964 team was coached by R.N. “Reedy” Fossum and the bat boy was current Northern State radio announcer Gene Reich, who was 13. Aberdeen beat host Pierre 19-0 to win the 1964 Region 3A crown. That sent the Smittys to Gregory for the state tournament, which was a four-team tournament each in Class A and B. The Smittys beat Sioux Falls 2-1 for the title.
Fossum, whose name graces the baseball field, coached for 19 seasons. He posted a winning percentage of 73 percent with a 643-240 record.