Swinging for the Fences

Swinging for the Fences

By Carl Paul Maggio

How American Legion Baseball Transformed a Group of Boys Into a Team of Men

Swinging for the FencesIn 2008, the surviving members of the Crenshaw Post 715 American Legion team gathered in Sedona, Arizona, to honor the memory of Billy Consolo. Stories of their fallen teammate opened a door to cherished memories of time spent together in childhood, learning the game of life through the game of baseball. With no adults to supervise them in the playgrounds and sandlots, Carl Paul Maggio and his friends grew to understand the principles of fair play. As teenagers, they thrived under the eccentric guidance of Benny Lefebvre, a gentle but fiercely determined coach who transformed the untamed boys, including future Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson, into a band of skillful, resourceful ballplayers. And when they competed with more than sixteen thousand teams for the 1951 American Legion World Baseball Championship, they discovered the greatest prize of all: a lifetime of enduring friendships. Swinging for the Fences will transport you to a simpler place and time in our country’s history, when kids were allowed to be kids, and baseball was a game of integrity and simplicity.

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