It's time to relive those glory days of local baseball. Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the Gays Mills Public Library will host a book signing and appearance of all remaining players of local author Paul Lagan's best-selling book, 'The Amazing Journey of the Kickapoo Kids.'
The even is schedule to take place in the Board Room of the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center. It's the same building in which the library is located.
Based on a personal experience, 'The Amazing Journey of the Kickapoo Kids' is an uplifting, nostalgic reminder of the brevity of small-town soul in the early 1950s, and a courageous group of the Kickapoo Kids' quest to set WIAA baseball records that can never be repeated.
During the years of 1950, 1952 and 1953, the Gays Mills High School baseball team advanced to the WIAA state tournament in a time when there were no divisions for postseason play in the WIAA. This tiny school with a class of only 44 students had to face, and defeat teams twenty times their size.
In 1952 and 1953, Gays Mills had a combined record of 32–2, losing only at the state tournament each year. In 1952 the team lost to eventual runner-rup La Crosse Central in the quarterfinals, and in 1953 lost to Birnamwood in the semifinal round.
Lagen was a pitcher on the team. Eli Crogan, the team's ace and top all-around player, went on to pitch at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and later had a long career teaching and coaching boys basketball at Watertown High School.
Larry McGinley played first base and outfield on the team. He went on to become middle school P.E. and health teacher in Platteville, where he also coached varsity baseball for 25 years from 1969–1993. McGinley, led the Hillmen, to the WIAA summer baseball state tournament nine times. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1991.
Jack Paulin coached the Gays Mills baseball team from 1950–1954. It was his first teaching and coaching job out of college. During his four year stint at Gays Mills, Paulin compiled a 48–8 record, six conference championships (including both the spring and fall seasons), three regional championships, three sectional championships and three WIAA State Tournament appearances (1952 and 1953). Paulin went on to teach and coach both baseball and boys basketball for 22 years at Lancaster. He was also inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010.
Lagan's book can be ordered here at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Amazing-Journey-Kickapoo-Kids/dp/1503224465