Carl Maggio, who played baseball at USC in 1955-56, died last week. He was 86.
Maggio was a member of a team I’ve wanted to write about for a couple years: the American Legion team, Crenshaw Post 715, that won the national title in 1951 at Tiger Stadium.
Sparky Anderson, who grew up on what is now part of the USC campus and a Trojan bat boy, was the shortstop. Billy Consolo, a pro baseball player from 1953-62, was the third baseman.
Rene Lachemann, the pro baseball player/manager, was the bat boy. He later went to USC. His brother, Bill, was the catcher on the legion team. The other brother, Marcel, was the Angels’ manager from 1994-96. Their dad was the chef at the Biltmore Hotel.
Leonard Landy, a member of the Little Rascals’ “Our Gang,” movies, played first base and also played at USC. Dean Stockwell, the actor, became sort of a team mascot because he never missed a game. Maggio played right field.
The coach was Benny Lefebvre, the father of pro baseball player Jim Lefebvre. Benny was the director of Rancho Cienega Sports Complex in Los Angeles. The team’s business manager, Charley Wilson, was a U.S. Congress representative from 1963-81.
The pitchers were Frank Layana and Paul Schulte. Both played at Loyola and had minor-league careers. The team was comprised of Dorsey and Loyola players.
Another player, Don Kenway, was the son of the secretary for USC athletic director Jess Hill.
Maggio wrote a book about the team, “Swinging for the Fences: How American Legion Baseball Transformed a Group of Boys Into a Team of Men.”