Midland Michigan

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Dow AC’s had strong influence with boys in Midland in 1940s and 1950s

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

MIDLAND, Mich. – Heroes. Superstars.And everyday citizens of Midland.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Dow ACs men’s fastpitch softball team won two national championships and a world championship.

But the legendary players and coaches, like Clyde “Lefty” Dexter, Al Linde, and Jimmy Walsh, didn’t stop there.

Through coaching and mentoring youth, they also helped lay the groundwork for today’s flourishing sports community in Midland. Their fingerprints can be found in such organizations as Little League and Pee Wee football, and the ACs were a springboard for Midland becoming a town known for producing outstanding softball organizations such as McArdle’s and the Midland Explorers.

Bud Collins, 92, of Midland, was part of the very first Dow ACs (Athletic Club) team in 1941, just after The Dow Chemical Co. had taken over the former Chemical City Athletic Club team.

The Dow ACs – a program which also included a highly competitive basketball team that played its games in what is now Central Middle School – was the biggest thing in a long time to hit Midland, which Collins noted was still a rural community of fewer than 10,000 people in the early 1940s.

“With Midland being so small at that time, that was the biggest thing that could have happened (to the town),” said Collins, who played third base for the Dow ACs until about 1950, outside of the years that he served in the Navy in World War II. “We packed (Currie) Stadium for every game.”

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Momentum building for the ISC World Tournament, thanks in large part to the Booster Club

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

“…the World Tournament is more than just a softball tournament; it’s a community event that will impact various parts of our area…” – Kyle Beane, president of Midland Explorers Booster Club

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MIDLAND, MI – One man with one good idea can bring about profound change.

Lefty Bartos is one such man. In February 1986 Bartos conceived the idea to form a booster club to help support major men’s fastpitch softball in Midland.

And from his idea sprang the Midland Explorers Booster Club. The club recently celebrated its 24th year of existence. And it’s still going strong.

Lefty has retired after many years of service to the club. But he hasn’t been forgotten.

“I’m not sure who was on the original committee that began the process, but Lefty was the driving force behind it,” said Kyle Beane, president of the Booster Club. “It was created to help support a major men’s fastpitch team in Midland that would carry on the tradition of Midland McArdles, Valley Mechanical, and the Dow AC’s.

“But without Lefty there would be no Explorers.”

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