Traveling PONY Team 1961
Sponsored by American Legion Post #540
Front: Jimmy Flavin (batboy).
Click on image for a larger picture.
* Photo reprinted from Brookline Journal *
Jackie Flavin recently pitched a perfect seven-inning game to lead unbeaten Brookline to a 4-0 victory over the Moon Run Lombardi's in the Southwest Pony League at Moore Field.
Flavin, a 14-year old righthander, struck out 16 batsmen. Prior to his perfect game performance, he had three consecutive one-hit games. It was Brookline's ninth straight win.
* Reprinted from the Brookline Journal - June, 1961 *
Brookline's Own Cy Young - Pitcher Jack Flavin
On June 20, 1962, Jack Flavin, then a 15-year old Senior Leaguer with Automatic Sales, pitched a seven inning, three-hit, 21 strikeout game versus American Legion, a record that stood the test of time for forty years, never to be equalled (2001 was the final year of Senior League competition.) His 1962 season also included five no-hitters.
Jack Flavin was perhaps the best pitcher to ever take the mound here in Brookline. From the time he was an eleven-year old with Quaills Cleaners in the Little League until his days playing American Legion ball, the smooth throwing right-hander graced the diamond with his blazing fastball and wicked change-up, causing severe consternation among opposing players and coaches.
His exploits continued, year after year, along with a succession of winning teams. Baseball is a team sport, and his supporting cast over the years was loaded with multi-talented players, like Jack Wertz, Mickey White, Freddie Luvara, Jack Daurora, Glenn Nylander, Bill Baumiller and many others. But, when Jack Flavin took the mound, it was a defenders holiday as he consistently rung up strikeout after strikeout.
Beginning at age eleven, when he helped lead his 1958 Little League All-Stars to the Pennsylvania State Finals, his star was on the rise. At age twelve, his 1959 Little League All-Star team was the District 4 Runner-up.
Then came a move to Pony League, where he led the Brookline traveling team to Southwest Pittsburgh championships in 1960 and 1961 (pictured above). As a Senior Leaguer, he led the 1962 All-Stars to a second-place finish in the state of Pennsylvania.
After graduating from the in-house program, he continued his winning ways by leading his 1964 American Legion team to the Pennsylvania State Finals, then capped off his Brookline career as an American Legion All-Star in 1965.
After graduating high school, Jack went on to a stellar career with Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He went on to become the all-time leader in career E.R.A. (1.36) and in 1968 set a Pennylvania State Athletics Conference record that can never be broken, posting an earned run average of 0.00!
Jack also set the record for most strikeouts per game in ratio to games played. On September 27, 2014, Jack Flavin was inducted into the I.U.P. Hall of Fame.
After graduating in 1969, Flavin went on to pitch for the Lawrenceville Tigers semi-pro team. He led the Tigers to a Greater Pittsburgh Federation League championship.
Jack eventually hung up his playing glove to concentrate on his career and family. We're sure that opposing hitters relished the day that the smooth hurler from Brookline moved on to his life's work.
Jack pursued a career in education, and taught at Resurrection Elementary School for twenty-seven years, retiring in 1996 when the school was decommissioned.
I find it ironic that so many Brookline kids, Jack's own students, many of whom left school every day and went on to their games at the Little League fields, never knew that they had just rubbed elbows with, arguably, the best pitcher to ever throw a baseball in their community, Brookline's own Cy Young.
Jack Flavin and his wife Carolyn still make their his home here in Brookline. Although his playing days have long since come to an end, daughter Jennifer continued the family tradition of athletic achievement, leading the Seton-LaSalle Girls Varsity Basketball team to a WPIAL championship in the year 2000.
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A final note with regards to Jack Flavin's seven-inning, 21-strikeout game in 1962. As a player myself, I once witnessed a similar feat. As a 17 year old, I was playing for the South Side Merchants in the Federation League. It was not my turn in the pitching rotation, so I was keeping the scorebook for the game. We played the team from North Pittsburgh and their pitcher was named John Lucas.
Our first batter reached base on an error. Lucas promptly picked him off and then proceeded to strike out the next 20 batters in succession. It was the closest thing to a perfect game that I have ever witnessed, and definitely the greatest pitching performance. I'll never forget the look of the scorebook, with one "K" after another.
It gave me a feel for how it must have felt being a member of the American Legion team as young Jack Flavin mowed down one batter after another, filling the scorebook K's; an absolutely remarkable achievement!
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