Responses Back Story - Left Field Lounge

Johnny Baker: "I can’t tell you much about that photo, but I do have a little twist on the left field area. When I was going to MSU back in the late ’60s, I worked for coach Paul Gregory and assistant coach Tom D’armi…My job on game days was to help get the field ready for the game. When there was a doubleheader back then, we would work between the games to redo the field for the second game.

“…I would park right behind the left field line pole and then go do my work. When I was done, I would go back to my car and wait until the game was over then go back to the field and clean up and drag the infield. So basically, I might be considered the very first “left field lounger,” even though I had a key at the time and really, no one else could get in at that time but me and a few others. But for 3 years that was my parking spot. Occasionally, (I would take) a date along and of course, occasionally, some cold beer along for those long double headers…

“I still am in a group with my brother Joe and some good friends that have a trailer just to the left of the center field wall and have been coming to the ball park now for 49 years . I have always loved our baseball “Dogs” and have been a season ticket holder for a very long time. Some left fielder loungers just never go away, and being out there just seems like, well, home to me. There is just no better place to watch college baseball than the left field lounge. What a very special, special place!”

Richard Ellington: "I attended State from June 1966 and graduated in the spring of 1970. We didn’t win many championships in those days, but in this particular instance we were about to. The “Lounge” was really established in the late 1960s and even in those days we smuggled cold beer in the trunk of our cars to the Lounge.

“In the case at hand, it was the spring of 1970 and State was playing Tennessee for the SEC Championship on a Saturday afternoon. Tommy Pharr was our All-SEC quarterback in those days. After the Friday win against the Vols to tie the series at one game a piece, Tommy, Bill McCrillias (sp) and myself were at Tommy’s apartment having a few cold ones when we came up with a “brilliant” idea. We would go out to Echols and get two cases of beer, ice it down, put it in the trunk of Tommy’s car and go park his car in the Lounge, thus preserving the premier spot. About 11 p.m. that night we parked Tommy’s car in the Lounge, knowing it wouldn’t be disturbed because after all he was the Big Man On Campus.

“We arrived around noon that Saturday prior to the 1 p.m. start. Sure enough, there sat Tommy’s car undisturbed. As time brought us closer to the start of the game more of our friends had joined us, knowing of the cold beverages in the car trunk. Red Solo cups were easily spotted around the car. As the game was about to start, we looked over to right field and sprinting toward our location was Eddie Keith, my fraternity brother. Eddie would later become known as Dr. Edwin M. Keith, who served State as the director of the Student Union, assistant dean of students and oversaw the Greek system.

“We knew Eddie had a final exam in black history at the same time the game was to start, so we were amazed to see him. He explained that he read the exam, didn’t have a clue to any of the answers, had to go to summer school anyway to graduate and wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to have a chance to see State win a championship while a student. He got his wish, as (I think) Jocko Potts drove in the only run of the game in either the eighth or ninth inning for our only SEC Championship during our years on campus. The Lounge was at its best that day.”

Jim Jackson: "I was enjoying Alumnus magazine and when I came to the back cover I was delighted to discover that picture. It was taken in the 1975 season (but it could be a year either way). On top of the yellow Volkswagen bus are Wilbur Abernathy with his legs crossed and me. Sitting in a chair next to the open door of the van in a red baseball hat is my father James Jackson, an architect who attended in the 1940s.

“Wilbur and I were students in landscape architecture, which at that time was in Briscoe Hall. For afternoon games we would sneak out the fire escape and walk over to Dudy Noble where we generally parked the VW bus. For most of the season, and in this picture specifically, we were in right field. I think we caught every home game that season. I think that picture was initially on the front page of the Starkville Daily News, which caused us a little problem as we had snuck out of the lab for the game. I would point out that we sat on top of the VW bus so campus security would not bother us. We generally had a gin and tonic in hand. We never over did it, as we had to go back to the lab and draw all night. Baseball season made things simpler for us.

John Meador: “First, my compliments on an excellent edition of the magazine. I read and enjoyed every article. I was particularly interested in the Left Field Lounge photo inside the back cover. I had seen this photo some time in the past on an Instagram post but did not study it in detail. The larger copy in the magazine caused me to try and see if I recognized anyone and to my surprise I found myself and my wife in the photo…Thanks again for bringing back some great memories.”

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