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Kicked Off The Bus

I have previously written the following story, but this version, written by my friend Walton Haddix, recently appeard in the local newspaper and is worth repeating here.

Coach Bill Kidd came to Albany in 1954 after serving two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox. At 6’10, he had played basketball at the University of Louisville.  

Coach Kidd was a strict disciplinarian who allowed no talking during practice or on the bus traveling to and from basketball and baseball games (At least until the bus had passed a 'point of no return'). Although Coach Kidd lived and coached by the highest principles of human conduct and behavior, on one isolated occasion he followed the advice of Senator Everett Dirksen (Illinois Senator from 1950 to 1969) who said, “In politics you sometimes have to rise above your principles.” This also happens occasionally in athletic contests as demonstrated by Coach Kidd during one of our district tournament baseball games at Tompkinsville in May 1955.

As the story goes, two players who later became noted radio announcers, Sid Scott and my dad, Darrell Speck, were in the back of the bus on the way to a district tournament baseball game in Tompkinsville. They thought the bus had gone past the point of no return after passing Waterview in Cumberland County, so they broke the silence and started singing a country song. They were mistaken in the point of no return because Coach Kidd stopped the bus and kicked both off the bus. J.R. Craig, on his way to the game, noticed Sidney and dad standing by the roadside and stopped to inquire what happened. They hopped into the car with J.R. and got to Tompkinsville before the bus.

Sid and dad were sitting in the stands when our team bus arrived. The baseball game got underway. In the fourth inning, Clinton County was behind one run with two outs but had a runner on first base. However, our weakest batter was at the plate and this is when Coach Kidd decided it was best to rise above his principles (as done in politics) for the good of the baseball team. He called time out, walked over to the bleachers and motioned for Sidney Scott to come down.

Sid nonchalantly ambled down to the batter’s box where Coach Kidd pointed to a bat and then pointed to home plate. Not a word was said or exchange as Sid picked up the bat, then walked to home plate in his street clothes and shoes where he hit a double, scoring the runner to tie the ball game. Louis Dale Latham hit a triple in the sixth inning, bringing in what proved to be the winning run. Two days later, Clinton County won its first ever district baseball championship in school history.

Comments

  1. I guess I am used to the hollywood version where there is always a punchline. My thoughts would be why was the coach so crazy about total silence until the point of no return? And what did the coach or the players learn from this?
    I think it is a great story, it just leaves me wishing I knew how these men felt about this whole deal.

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  2. The punchline was Sid walking out on the field in street clothes and getting a hit that helped us win the game. Sid and my dad were the two most popular radio personalities in our area. As for the coach and his rule, that was just his way of coaching, I guess.

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