Free Soil 1974 Baseball Team - MCSHOF Inductee - 2024

In 2024, the 1974 Free Soil baseball team will celebrate the 50th anniversary of a run to the state finals and a runner-up finish. Free Soil's roster was made up of 12 players; five seniors who brought experience to the team. one junior, two sophomores, a freshman and three eighth graders, who were the true youth of the team. If a school had an enrollment under 75 students, eighth graders were allowed to play high school sports. At the time, Free Soil's enrollment was 52. The Pirates were 11-0 in the regular season before making a historic run in the tournament, ending in a 2-0 loss to Cheboygan Catholic. The loss was particularly difficult for the Pirates as starting pitcher Charles "Buzzie" Jacobson was forced to leave the game in the first inning after struggling with a muscle pull in his back. Max Carey, Jr. was called on to pitch, but the state rules prohibited a pitcher from throwing more than 10 innings in any one portion of the tournament and Carey pitched five innings in the semifinal win over Adrian-Madison. The team's coach, Max Carey, indicated in a Ludington Daily News article on June 17, 1974, "We hurt Cheboygan's pitcher worse than anybody has during his career. That's what Leo (Yeck) told me." Yeck was the Cheboygan Catholic coach and a former Ludington St. Simon athlete. Along with coach Max Carey, team members included Max Carey, Jr., Michael Heath, Scott Heath, Charles Jacobson, Ben Knizacky, Matthew Knizacky, Curtis Luomala, David Papes, Richard Papes, Thomas Papes, Michael Rybicki and John Shereda.