Terry and Travis Horwath: Teammates in First World Series Father/Son Competition in 1998

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

73-year-old Terry Howarth is an MSBL veteran from Oregon and was present at the very first MSBL World Series Father/Son competition in 1998.  Terry contacted us to find the exact year of the first Father/Son division because he wanted to make sure he had his dates correct as he prepared the eulogy for his son Travis’ service.

Travis passed away in January of this year from complications of multiple sclerosis and cancer.  Terry had a baseball and a picture of that year for the service but had to add that special date.  Fortunately, Terry was able to provide us the picture of the two of them as teammates in 1998.

“Yes, the picture I sent was from the first Father/Son tourney in Phoenix in 1998,” said the senior Howarth.  “I asked our skipper, Joe Johnson, if there was a team picture but he couldn’t find one. Our team name was Oregon Father/Son or the Oregon Loggers Father/Son.  I’m not sure.  Also, I’m not sure how we did that year.

Travis and I traded off at first base every other inning. That was it for us playing together in Phoenix. Travis played a little with my 30+ league team in Oregon, the Cardinals, in Eugene, but we sadly never played together again in Arizona.”

Terry played in the Eugene MSBL beginning back in 1993 when most leagues were 30-over and has also played in the Willamette Valley MSBL in Salem for a 40-over team.  I asked Terry what were some of his special Father/Son memories.

“We had to do a bit of tweaking in the Father/Son at the beginning.  Wood bats was one change we made. Sons could be 16 years old but some of them were on their way to play college ball.  Some son batters could easily knock an older Dad off the mound.  Now the different competition divisions have leveled the field.

I remember a game we played against a team from Arizona.  The father pitched and the son caught. When they switched, you could hardly tell who was who! The father looked that young. It was REALLY fun!  It was a different game back in 1998.  Everybody wanted to win but no one wanted to see anyone get hurt.

I recall one dad pitcher on the mound who was a pretty big guy.  He accidently drilled a son batter and instead of grabbing the ball and watching the other runners on base, he charged into the batter’s box to see if the kid was okay, along with about four other dads.  That’s the beauty of the Father/Son concept.  It’s not a ‘win at all costs’ mentality.”

Terry also was part of a time-tested profession up there in Oregon.

“At the time I was a timber faller for International Paper Company.  My cutting partner was Jerry Draper. Jerry and I were also teammates in Arizona at the World Series.  We happened to be nearest to the backstop when the announcer hollered down, ‘Hey Oregon!  What’s the name of your team?  Oregon what?’  Jerry yelled back, ‘The Loggers!’  So, we were billed as the Loggers until one afternoon, as we all sat in the hotel hot tub nursing our aches and pains, both fathers and sons, when one of the sons says, ‘Loggers?  We look more like the Oregon Donors.”  The new name stuck and we have been the Donors in any of our appearances since.”

What is your World Series history and have you played in any other tournaments throughout the years and what is your baseball history?

“I sort of cut my teeth in the Carolina League in Spartanburg, Carolina in 1968. They were a Phillies farm team.  Regarding MSBL, I’ve played in Phoenix since around 1993 and some in Palm Springs for the Desert Classic.  We are in the process of moving from Oregon to Arizona so I hope to get back into MSBL ball once we get settled down there.

The team I’ve played with the most in tournaments are the Grizzlies from Fresno.  They are a great bunch of guys that have given me an open invitation whenever I want to come back.  I hope to be playing for their 70-over team at the World Series this year.”

What are some of your special memories of your time spent playing in Arizona?

“My very first game in Phoenix was against the San Diego Berrys at Tempe Diablo Stadium. They were something crazy like 162 and 2. We had no idea who they were.  I always said that the team we put together for Phoenix wasn’t a true All-Star team, it was a team made up of guys that could get off work!  Berry’s was obviously at a different level.

My first at bat in that game at Tempe Diablo Stadium we had Steve Collette standing on second and I hit a slow-breaking curve ball over the left-centerfield fence that one-hopped the light pole.  When I went out to play first base, a voice from their first-base dugout yelled, “Hey 44, only one to a uniform.”  You could have seen my face turn red.  You could say I was a little chubby then!”

Any final comments?

“I hope they keep the Father/Son going.  I’m sure they will.  It has changed a bit since 1998 but things always have to evolve.  Some of the best stories involve a grandpa, dad, and son all together on the same team.  Now they include a few granddaughters, too.  It’s good for the game and for MSBL.”