Former West U Resident Was in 1950 World Series
It was in the days long before Little League baseball games were carried on satellite TV channels, broadcast on the Internet and relayed back home via Tweets.
But Life magazine was around to print pictures of the boys of summer who won the 1950 Little League World Series of baseball.
Fred Burns, who grew up on Tangley Street in West University Place, was one of those boys.
“Yes, I was in Life magazine,” Burns recalled Tuesday. “There was a big picture of me being tagged out at home plate.”
Burns, who retired from the Wortham Insurance Fund earlier this year, is the chairman of the Wortham Trust and now lives in Galveston.
But he hasn’t forgotten his playing days for the 1950 Houston Little League All Star team. The boys rode a train from Houston through St. Louis and on to Harrisburg, Pa., where they boarded a bus for the Little League World Series in Williamsport. Like many of his teammates, Burns went on to play college baseball. He attended Rice University, where he met and married a beautiful Bellaire girl. They’ve been together for 51 years.
Burns still has fond memories of the final game in the 1950 Little League World Series.
“We were carried by our pitching like most good teams are,” Burns said. “I think in our last game against Bridgeport, Connecticut, we only got four hits. Sooner or later in Little League, it comes down to pitching.”
As for that play where he got tagged out at home?
Burns just laughs about it.
“I was tickled to death. We won and I was in Life magazine,” Burns said. “They assured me that I ran through the stop sign of the third base coach.”
Back in 1950, West U youngsters who wanted to play league baseball joined Houston teams. West U was a sleepy little bedroom community of bungalows nestled just a few miles away from downtown. There weren’t even any baseball fields.
“I have often said that we lived in West U long before it was chic,” Burns said.
Burns, who coached Little League for 16 years while his two sons played, has some advice for the West U winners.
“They need to enjoy this time they have had – they will remember it, I can assure you. It will stick with them all their lives,” Burns said. “The games do count. Participation in athletics is a character influence. As you compete, it gets tougher and tougher. I am sure they just found that out together.”
“The main thing is: don’t get too caught up in it,” Burns said. “It’s just like I thought I was really smart until I went to Rice University. There are a lot of smart people in the world. And some of them are really good baseball players.”
“They need to get on with their studies now and get a good education,” Burns said. “Then they can get a good job.”