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July 22, 2010
Times Leader

By BETTY?POKAS, Times Leader Area EditorTHE B’S seem to be popular on sandlot teams’ uniforms in Eastern Ohio, as shown by this photos dating back decades although some teams featured the name of sponsors such the Hanna Coal Co.
Baseball is a popular sport for persons of any age. In fact, Colt League Baseball for boys in the 15-16 age group was founded by John Laslo in Martins Ferry in 1953. The program later spread throughout the United States and around the world.
Laslo, who later served as Martins Ferry mayor, said during a 1986 interview, “We had the first organized baseball program for boys 15-16 in the world.” He wrote the league’s rulebooks until 1960 when the Colt League  was merged with Pony Baseball then known as Boys Baseball.
His formation of the league resulted in the first Colt League World Series being held in 1953 in Martins Ferry, and it involved 13 teams from three states.
Laslo was honored for his baseball contributions in 1986 by the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, and included among his other sports-related honors was a national award for services to Boys Baseball, a national service award from Sports Magazine and an Achievement Award from the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club.
The accompanying photos are of some older teams; most are unidentified, and some of those pictured might be deceased. The years in which they were taken is unknown, but at least one dates to 1966 or before.
Pokas can be reached at

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The letter, B, appears especially popular on these uniforms as Blaine, Bridgeport and Bethany are represented. One player in the front row undoubtedly is a Pittsburgh Pirate fan, as shown by his cap.



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