Do you know any of the players in this photo? Please contact Sports Editor Kevin Edwards

For the vast majority of the year, covering sports in Wayne County involves a lot of running around.

Traveling to the field, watching the game, taking photos and doing interviews is the first aspect. The second involves returning to the newsroom, writing and editing the story, then placing it on the page.

It’s a time consuming process that repeats itself every day, five days a week, 52 weeks per year.

Every once in awhile though, you catch a lucky break and a fascinating story just walks right in the door. That was the case this past week when a dear old friend appeared at our reception desk.

Todd Kinzinger and I were classmates and teammates at Honesdale High School. We’re two members of the Class of 1984 who chose to stay local, carve out careers and raise families.

Sadly, Todd’s brother Scott tragically passed away back in April. As one of his familial duties following Scott’s death, Todd has been helping to clean out the house on Sunrise Avenue.

It was one of Todd’s discoveries there that brought him to The Wayne Independent ... a discovery that he shared with me and one I’d like to share with you.

Stage Set

The year was 1947 and Americans were beginning to enjoy the fruits of a booming post-war economy. Harry Truman was in the White House. Polaroid was marketing its first “instamatic” camera.

Newspapers in the town of Roswell were reporting that a flying saucer had crashed in the New Mexico desert.

Meanwhile here in Honesdale, a harsh winter was only gradually starting to relax its grip. As the middle of May approached, thoughts began tending toward baseball. Fans were excited about the prospect the 1947 Wayne County League campaign.

Merv Iloff’s squad was coming off a solid season in ‘46. The Ramblers had finished third in the standings with a 9-5 record and qualified for the playoffs. The nucleus of this team was set to return. That fact, coupled with the addition of several talented newcomers, boded well for prospects in ‘47.

Practices commenced at the Stourbridge Field and, following numerous rainouts, the Ramblers came out swinging.

Honesdale opened the Wayne County League season with a solid 4-1 win over White Mills.

Tommy Dunne drew the Opening Day mound assignment and pitched a gem. The fireballing righty went the distance and allowed just three hits. Dunne struck out eight and walked two.

Jimmy Gregg paced the Ramblers offensive attack. The fleet-footed center fielder went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored.

Honesdale won its first road game of the season the following weekend at Waymart. There, the Ramblers powered their way to a 12-9 victory over the Warriors. Tommy Olver led the way with a big day at the dish, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

The local lads made it three in a row, thanks to another stellar mound effort by Dunne.

Tommy tossed his second complete game of the young season, this one a 5-0 shutout at the expense of White Mills.

George “Mouse” Doherty and Gregg each roped a pair of key hits. However, it was a sensational defensive play by left fielder Harold “Hokey” Lilholt that had everyone talking that particular day.

After opening the season with three consecutive wins, Honesdale suffered its first loss at the hands of Hawley. The final score was 10-7.

The Ramblers were shorthanded in this one, missing three starters.

However, outfielder Ray Irwin tormented Hawley pitchers, banging out three hits. Shortstop Dean Guinther also came through in the clutch with a pair of safeties and two runs scored.

It didn’t take long for Honesdale to exact its revenge, though.The Ramblers hosted Hawley less than a week later and posted a 5-1 decision.

Dunne was back in the hill for this one and twirled yet another complete game. Tommy fanned three and allowed just six hits.

Don Hazelton brought the crowd to its feet with a towering homerun deep over the right field fence. He finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

The Ramblers remained in first place the following Sunday with a 7-2 victory over Hamlin.

Bud Kelz toed the rubber in this one and cruised to the complete game win. Carl Soden gave him all the offensive support he’d need, going 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored.

Honesdale and White Mills met again over the Independence Day weekend. This was an important game because the Millers had quietly climbed into a virtual tie for first and were looking for vengeance.

The Ramblers were unimpressed, though, thrilling a crowd of more than 1,000 fans with an impressive 4-1 victory.

Coach Iloff sent his ace to the hill and Dunne didn’t let him down. Tommy fired his fourth complete game of the year, scattering seven hits across nine innings.

Gregg banged out three hits in four at-bats, while Doherty lashed a single and double.

Honesdale added another win over the holiday, whitewashing Hamlin by a score of 8-0.

Kelz dazzled on the mound, firing a one-hit shutout. Bud piled up nine Ks and issued just one free pass.

Down the Stretch

Honesdale was nothing short of dominant during the first half of the season.

The Ramblers were all alone in first place with a record of 7-1, but then struggled down the stretch. In fact, Coach Iloff’s team split its last six games and finished behind Browndale in the final standings.

However, the local lads re-grouped in the playoffs. Honesdale defeated Hawley in the semifinals and then swept White Mills in the championship series.

The Ramblers closed out their Wayne County League campaign with a record of 14-4. It would be eight years before Honesdale won another title.

The ‘47 season lived on in local lore for many years. Stories of triumphs and defeats were recounted so many times that the star players eventually attained legendary status.

That’s one of the reasons Todd Kinzinger’s discovery is so exciting. While there are many black & white photos that survive, this is the first color image I have ever seen.

In addition, there are several fascinating background details here ... a tantalizing glimpse of the old Stourbridge field.

The players appear relaxed and happy. Many are smiling. It’s a obviously an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment photo.

And so, before I donate a digital scan to the Historical Society, I'd like your help.

Do you recognize any of these faces? We have a roster of the 1947 team, but now we need to match up faces and names.

If you can help, or if you'd just like to share an anecdote or two, please contact Sports Editor Kevin Edwards at 570-253-3055.