Gratiot County: We Were There in WWII

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The Belding Silk City Slammers is the newest member of the storied Gratiot County Baseball League, which is the oldest continuously running baseball league in the state, operating each summer since That is the mantra of the long-standing Gratiot County Baseball League, which, since , has continuously offered local athletes an opportunity to play the game they love.

For others, like Rollie Carman, 50, president of the league for the past 14 years, the league has been a part of his life since he was a little boy. Carman remembers his uncle, Vern Carman, coaching the North Star team years ago.

Gratiot County, MI

Another relative, Ronnie Carman, is still playing the game at age 62, serving as an outfielder for the Fulton Sultans. The Gratiot County Baseball League is for anyone who wants to play, usually ages 18 and older, but there are exceptions for younger players. In fact, Carman, an Ithaca High School graduate, began playing in the league when he was 15 years old. It was the opening day for the league, which has been in operation continuously since Belding is the newest team in the league, which sports seven teams this year.


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Baltruczak is a Belding graduate. Baseball teams had formed as early as in Gratiot County, with the league forming in Other than an interruption from to , due to World War II, the league has been active every summer. In , it was referred to as Gratiot County Baseball League again and would pit the east league champion against the west league champion in a best-of-three series.

After the season, the west league disconnected from the Gratoit County Baseball League and became the Tri-County League until Throughout its year history, the number of teams participating has fluctuated, from as many as 14 to as little as four. Other MLive.

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Gratiot County, MI

Fuhrmann wasn't drafted until , so while he wasn't there for the beginning of US involvement, he certainly remembers the end. The young soldier was on a visit to the United States, traveling to South Dakota, when the news came that Japan had surrendered, ending the war. His train was at a stop when he heard the announcement. When I got back to the depot, I saw my train leaving.

Nationally, WWII veterans are dying at a rate of per day. Help us to record their stories and honor their service. If you are one of those who served or you know a living WWII veteran from Saginaw, Tuscola, Huron, Sanilac, Gratiot, Midland, Isabella or Clare counties, let us know by using the form below, or send the information to.

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