By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Terry Van Gundy is a 60 year old MSBL veteran of 30 years who was the 1988 originator of the Arizona MSBL located in and around the Phoenix area, a league now headed up by John Silingo and Lou McAnany, and one of the most successful leagues in the MSBL family. Terry lives in the community of Prescott, Arizona which is 103 miles from Phoenix at an elevation of 5,368 feet. This is important because as Terry continued to play in the Arizona MSBL, the travel was killing him because he is also a traveling auto auctioneer and on the road around the southwest. At a recent game one of his teammates said ‘why don’t you just start your own league up there?’ Hmmmm…Welcome to the brand new Prescott MSBL!
“We started this year on August 20th and will run through the last week of October,” said Van Gundy. “We’ll then start our playoffs in early November. It is still beautiful weather in Prescott, even though we are much higher than Phoenix.”
The Prescott MSBL is currently a five team, 25 and over wood bat league with hopes of expanding even next year. “I have approached the communities of Cottonwood, Flagstaff and Sedona, to name a few, and hope to be at eight teams next year. Those areas find it hard to travel to Phoenix to play so we are a great option for baseball guys.”
Unlike the Arizona MSBL’s ability to play on major league spring training facilities, Terry immediately had to find suitable playing fields to attract players. He got lucky right out of the chute. “One of our players is the varsity baseball coach at the high school so I naturally spoke with him about using their very nice field. Bingo!”
Terry’s ability to start baseball leagues of course go back to 1988 and his beginning the powerful Arizona MSBL. “I was in an airplane and flipping through the supplied magazine and saw Steve Sigler’s MSBL ad promoting playing baseball as an alternative to softball,” explained Van Gundy. “I couldn’t wait for the plane to land and I then called Steve. The over 30 AZ MSBL was born and we played our very early games at Indian School Park in Phoenix, then home of the Giants. We were also able to actually buy an old stadium in El Mirage, previous home of the Brewers, and we played there after the first year. It was great!”
Terry was a AAA pitcher for the Giants long ago but broke his arm at the age of 20 and was never able to recover for a career on the mound. He was able to pitch in the new Arizona MSBL league but then broke it again. It forced a change of position. “I am now playing first base for the Giants in our league, at least as long as the screws hold up in my arm.”
In a new league you don’t want to discourage any young players from coming on board, as they are the future of your league. “Yes, we are a 25 and over league but there are guys out there from high school or college looking to play,” added Van Gundy. “We don’t want to turn them away so we made a league rule that each team can carry three players under 25 and then can play any position. Since all teams have these special players we feel that it is fair.”
The future looks bright for the new Prescott MSBL as Arizona is well documented as a baseball hotbed. “Our surrounding communities have around 100,000 people and I will be spending the winter months recruiting in social media and print as well as pounding the pavement. There are a lot of ball players out there looking to play. We also hope to pair up with John and Lou in Phoenix (AZ MSBL) for some special inter-league play. The future looks very good for Prescott.”
Terry certainly has the pedigree to get the job done and put Prescott on the MSBL map for years to come. “We also hope to be able to field a team or two for the 2018 MSBL World Series and give it a shot. To live this close and not play in that tournament would be a shame.”
I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ll see them there. Welcome aboard!