Sam Jennings

Sam Jennings, Medford Sports Hall of FameShortly after WW1, Sam saw a need for an organization of some sort which would allow people to participate in sports. He helped organize the Inter-Church Athletic Leage of Medford.

About 1926 or 1927, a Medford Kitten Ball League was formed. Kitten Ball was played with an out-seam ball, somewhat larger than the present softball, a much slower type of ball game. Along came softball in the early 1930’s which was played in the twilight, 6:30 until dark. There were many teams in Medford, interest was very high, a much faster type of ball game then the earlier Kitten Ball.

Lights were needed at the field to enable them to play more teams and more seating made available for the fans who came out to see the games. The first organizational meeting was held in the Jennings Tire Company office at 229 North Riverside. So many people expressed an interest that the next meeting a larger building was needed to accommodate the crowd. Mr. E.H. Hedrick (Medford School Superintendent at the time) was invited to the meeting. He saw the enthusiasm and agreed that a lighted field would be good for Medford and Softball. By the net week sixteen teams signed up, paid their entrance fee, and they were able to light the field at the high school. Four teams could play at one time and so with two diamonds working in an evening, eight teams played. The interest in Softball grew and as many as 3000 avid fans attended one time.

Sam sponsored teams, served as chairman and president of the Medford Softball Association and also sponsored many bowling teams through the 1930’s. 40’s, and 50’s. On November 15, 1933, seven men met in Medford to for a Ski Club. He decided upon the name “Rogue Snowmen”, and he is happy to have been one of the original founders of this still active organization.

A quote from Mr. Jennings: “I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Hedrick, Bill Bowerman, Ed Kirtley and Mr. Irv Myrick, who all helped make softball a success in the early days – 1932 through 1950’s”.