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Past meets present, Arrows to be honored

Former Arrows player Manny Russo (center) talks with the umpire before a game. | Courtesy photo

The past will meet the present Friday night as an old, familiar face takes

the mound to throw the first pitch.

Former Andalusia Arrows player Tex Tyler will kick off the 10U and 12 U Cal Ripken District Tournament, which will be held at the Andalusia Sports Complex.

The 1938-1962 teams will be honored during opening ceremonies.

The idea to honor the original Arrows team came when 9-and-10-year-old South Alabama All-Stars coach Casey Jones found out his team’s name wasn’t what he expected.

“I wanted to know where the name came from and why we’re going to be the Arrows and not the Andalusia Bulldogs,” Jones said.

The Arrows name came from a shirt factory that was in operation in the

1930s, 40s and 50s in Andalusia.

Jones said in order for the team to play at the state tournament, the team

name was based on the district it was in.

Tyler started for the Arrows in 1953. He was 27 years old, and said his team was a part of the Class D Alabama-Florida League.

The Arrows played in the Andalusia Municipal Stadium, where the AHS football team holds its games.

He said it was a good thing to play on the team at the time.

“It was good because around here, they had semi-pro ball,” he said. “When they got the professional league, people turned out for it.”

Tyler said he feels good about throwing the first pitch.

“It make me feel good, anyway,” he said. “It will make a lot of other people feel good that I know that I’m going to throw the ball out.”

Tyler is married to Linda, and has a son, Mike and a daughter, Anita (Tyler) Pruett of Jacksonville, Fla.

In addition to Tyler, Manny Russo Sr., Virgil “Fire Ball” Trucks and Bill

Meeks will be honored at the ceremony.

Trucks still holds the major league record for throwing two no-hitters back to back in a single season. He is the Alabama Hall of Fame, and

will try to come, Jones said.

Trucks played 11 years for the Detroit Tigers and six years for the Yankees.

Opening ceremonies will begin around 6 p.m. at the complex.

“With this ceremony, a lot of the kids get to see that baseball was a big

deal in Andalusia in those days,” Jones said.