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The day a major league baseball MVP came to Bluffton

Credit Bluffton College's A.C. Burcky for the win

A.C. Burcky, Bluffton College’s long-time coach and athletic director, was always on the lookout for a local promotion.

He scheduled a professional wrestling event, a professional basketball team exhibition, enticed four area high schools to play a Christmas-vacation tournament that endured 24 years, and brought high school tournament games to Bluffton for nearly that long.


He also brought a touring basketball squad of Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and Bobby Knight to play area all-stars in 1962, which filled Founders Hall.


In 1953-54 he scheduled a game between Bluffton College and Rio Grande College, which featured Clarence (Bevo) Francis, the most publicized cager in the Midwest and eventually the nation. Francis outscored the entire Bluffton team 82-71 as the final score reached 116 for Rio Grande.


Back up to one of Coach Burcky’s first promotions. In 1938 he created a one-day baseball clinic featuring Roger Peckinpaugh, who earlier in his career was voted the MVP in the American League.

Here's the story from the top of the Bluffton News front page of March 31, 1938 Baseball enthusiasts within a 50-mile radius of Bluffton will be guests of Bluffton College at the baseball clinic conducted by Roger Peckinpaugh, former Big League star, this Saturday afternoon in the Bluffton High gymnasium.


The program featuring Peckinpaugh will start at 1:30 p.m.


Discussion of matters of interest to spectators, players and coaches will be featured in Peckinpaugh’s opening remarks. One of the features of the afternoon will be the presentation of an educational baseball film in which the actors are stars of today in the major leagues.


Anyone interested in baseball is invited to attend the clinic, which is presented free of cost to all participants. Coach A.C. Burcky of Bluffton College is in charge of arrangements for the gathering.


Invitations have been sent to more than 80 high schools in the area and the initial response indicates a good attendance. Reservations already have been made by Kenton, Lima, Mendon, Lafayette, North Baltimore, Hoytville, Shawnee and Bluffton schools, with others coming in daily.

Ralph Peckinpaugh

Bluffton fans are evidencing a decided interest in the clinic and a large adult turnout is expected from the area surrounding the town.


Peckinpaugh is a former major league star, being voted the most valuable player in the American league at the close of one season.  Following his playing career he served as a big league manager.


More about Peckinpaugh

Peckinpaugh, who grew up in Wooster, Ohio, was a key contributor in the 1924 World Series, in which the Senators defeated the Giants. He won the League Award as the AL's Most Valuable Player in 1925, ending Al Simmons by a small margin.  







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