MSBL World Series Team Profile: USA Volkers, managed by Billy Jacobs

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Those of us of a certain age have an ever-present fear while competing annually in the MSBL World Series; seeing the USA Volkers from Terre Haute, Indiana filing into the other dugout.  I have been there and it is no fun.

MSBL World Series Hall of Fame member and Texas resident Billy Jacobs began managing the Volkers in 2014 after many years of playing for San Antonio teams at the World Series.

“I began playing in the MSBL World Series in 1992 and have returned every year since,” stated Billy.  “I have played under several different team names, including the USA Volkers, US Patriots, and the San Antonio Rangers.  I’ve played mostly shortstop over the 30+ years of MSBL but moved to third about a half dozen years ago.  I became a player/manager in 1999 primarily because nobody else wanted the responsibility.

2013 was the last year with the Rangers and was fortunate enough to win a ring.  San Antonio had a league rule at that time that you had to play with their league teams in Arizona (World Series) but that changed in 2014 so I took a few players/friends with me and we started to play with Frank Volker and the Volkers.”

Getting right down to their success story, below is a listing of just how amazing their journey to the World Series has been.

1992-1994 40+ as Terre Haute Rivermen

1995 played in 50+ as Terre Haute Volkers

2014 to present as USA Volkers

1999 to present in Father/Son division as Terre Haute Volkers

Billy’s first year was 2014 and changed it to USA Volkers because they represented leagues from all over the country

2014 lost 65+ championship to LA Athletics

2015 lost again to Athletics in 65s

2016 won first 65+ national title against TSP Chicago Fire

2018 and 2019 won 70+ national championships

2020 covid year lost 70+ national to LA Athletics

2021 and 2022 won 73+ national titles

2023 first venture into 75+ national

Added Billy, “I’m especially proud of the fact that our teams have always entered the highest competitive division available over our journey through the 35/40/45/50/55/60/65/70/73 divisions and now the 75+ division for 2023.  We’ve been fortunate to win 12 National tournaments over this time between Phoenix and Las Vegas but the numerous World Series titles truly stand out in retrospect.

The most recent World Series championships were all with the USA Volkers.  We won the 65+ National division in 2016 and also won the 70+ National division championships in 2018 and 2019, with my co-manager Pat Fynes, and the 73+ National division championships in 2021 and 2022 with co-manager Rick Park.  We lost the title in the 2020 Covid year, coming in second to the LA Athletics by a 5-4 score.”

Billy said that an injury has slowed him down recently so will concentrating on  managing the 75s in Arizona, once again with co-manager Rick Park.  Some of their best players are only 74 this year and can’t come along with Billy and the crew into the upper division so they will be playing for the MBI team in the 73+ National division.

“We would like to defend our 73 National championship, but we thought we’d try something new.  We are still able to put together a pretty good 75-over team so we’ll see what happens.  It should be fun!

We were also able to secure Dick Fitzgerald as one of our pitchers and he is amazing.  He played Triple A for Baltimore and Cincinnati in the mid-50s to 1960 and is 88 years old!  His catcher, Ken Combs, is 82.  That could be the oldest battery in the history of the World Series.”

We asked Billy where the name USA Volkers came from.

“Back in 2014 we changed the name because there were too few Terre Haute guys who could make it so we had to start recruiting from around the country, just like so many teams down there.  The USA in our name represents the fact we cover a lot of area in the United States with our players.”

In closing, Billy and I were discussing our mutual history of playing in older divisions and I was bemoaning the fact that when I now am looking straight up to catch a pop-up, it represents new challenges.  I loved his comeback:

“Bright skies and aging eyes!”   How true…Thanks, Billy!