Remembering OHS Athletic History: Brahman Baseball five Year Letter Winners
By Mayor Dowling Watford – Special to WOKC.COM
As we approach the 100th graduating class of Okeechobee High School, it is an interesting story that we have had two individuals who received an athletic letter for a sport for five years. Both were in the same class and began their high school sports career in the 8th grade. Mike Long and David Allgood, members of the Class of ’62, both earned a letter in baseball for five years.
Mike Long moved to Okeechobee in 1956 from Stuart, FL and attended 7th grade here. In the 8th grade he and David were recruited by long time OHS baseball coach, Johnny Mack Kinsaul, to play for the varsity team. Both Mike and David have a connection to catcher Wayne Cone to be invited to play as 8th graders. Mike was watching practice as a 7th grader, and while Wayne was warming up a pitcher at practice, Mike suggested the pitcher grip the ball differently, and then threw several pitches to Wayne. Wayne told Coach Kinsaul that he needed to invite him to play the next year. As a left hander, Mike was a very good pitcher and started his first game at pitcher against Martin County. When not pitching, he played first base and after “throwing out” his arm, he moved to outfield. Mike also played football and basketball. The 1962 basketball team made it all the way to the state tournament with coach Bobby Lamb. Mike said some his fond memories include: pitching a perfect game in Stuart Little League; the ’62 basketball season and state tournament; hitting two home runs in a game against Lake Placid; and a home run hit while he was playing left field. Mike relates that they were playing Avon Park at home on the field that was across from Central Elementary School with no fence in the outfield.
The Avon Park hitter was Bobby Bates the catcher. Mike says the ball was hit so hard over his head that it almost rolled to the Gym at the High School (now Freshman Campus). He said by the time he hit the cutoff man, shortstop Alex Fulford, who was standing in left field where he had been, the runner was already home. Mike really enjoyed playing for Johnny Mack, considering him a great role model and a father figure for him. After a medical discharge from the Air Force, Mike returned to Okeechobee and worked for many years with Henry Kelly at Family Homes.
David Allgood was born in KY, but moved to Okeechobee in the 2nd or 3rd grade. David says he did not play much baseball before high school, maybe one year of American Legion ball, and just showed up at high school practice in the 8th grade. If you could catch and hit the ball, Coach Kinsaul would let you play. His connection to Wayne Cone (according to his teammate Mike Long), was that while playing against Clewiston, a runner slid into home injuring Wayne, so David had to replace him. Mike also said that David had a very strong arm and threw out many runners trying to steal second base by throwing from his knees. Like Mike, David also played football (quarterback) and point guard for the ’62 basketball team. In reminiscing about his high school baseball career, David recalls hitting about 188 average in the 8th grade, but improved after that, hitting for a 500 average his junior year.
He said he was not a power hitter like Mike Long, but he could make contact and stretch a single into a double. He normally hit 3rd in the lineup (unusual for a catcher), but one-time Coach Kinsaul switched him to cleanup hitter (4th batter in line up). He said he went 0-3, and asked coach to move him back to 3rd in lineup where he stayed. He also recalled an interesting play that involved Mike. Mike was on first and made a great play on a ground ball, he flipped the ball to David (playing shortstop and covering second base). The runner stepped on David’s glove, and so was out. Like Mike, David enjoyed playing under Coach Kinsaul saying he was a very good coach and really knew the game. After graduation, David joined the Air Force and served in the Philippines during the Vietnam war. After his enlistment ended in 1966, he settled in KY and worked as an insurance salesman and manager.