America’s great love affair with baseball in the early part of the 20th century was fueled by stars that seemed bigger than life. Names like Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Lou Gerig and the immortal Babe Ruth. Every empty lot, schoolyard and playground had the rough dimensions of a diamond drug into the hard tack mud. Old floor sacks or cardboard squares held down with rocks were used at bases. Every school boy spent his waking hours dreaming of hitting a home run in the bottom of the 9th to win the World Series and wrestle the championship away from the New York Yankees.
The year was 1926 when the American Legion, rolls filled from veterans returning from the Great World War, decided to start a nation wide baseball program for high school aged players. Yonkers, New York, won that first ever National Championship played in Philadelphia against a team from tiny Pocatello, Idaho. After skipping the 1927 national tournament, American Legion baseball began its’ 82-consecutive season run in 1928 – the first year for Morgantown Post 2 baseball. In 2008 more than 5,300 teams nationwide played American Legion Baseball.
Success came quickly for the boys from the University City with the first of twelve West Virginia State Championships coming in 1929 with a repeat performance in 1930.
After a long drought through the Great Depression and World War Two, Post 2 won a third West Virginia State Championship in the summer of 1947. Although always considered very competitive, Morgantown post 2 would go through its longest period without a title – through five presidents - dating from 1947 to 1973.
Local carpenter and contractor Clyde Selby was in charge of the Morgantown baseball program for over thirty years and his teams in the 70’s and the early 80’s could only be described as a dynasty. Post 2 won a remarkable five State Championships in just nine years bring the crown home to the University City in 1973, 1974, 1976, 1980 and 1981. Selby, who passed away in 2007, served for many years as the State Chairman for American Legion Baseball for the Department of West Virginia. He was a solid leader who shaped the lives of hundreds of young men and ran his program with dignity and class. His son David is a well known actor who starred in the very successful “Falcon Crest” television series playing the part of Richard Channing, and before that was a lead in the cult television hit “Dark Shadows”. Clyde’s other son, Craig, is the Publisher of the Charleston Gazette. The foundation for the current Post 2 program began with Clyde Selby.
Selby retired in 1985 and turned the program over to Morgantown businessman Dale Miller, currently General Manager Post 2. Miller who coached the team for twelve seasons vastly expanded the schedule played by his predecessor averaging just over 33 games a year and ended his coaching career with a record of 298 wins and 102 losses. Now in his 25th season with the team, Miller handed the head coaching job over to long time assistant Rick Rice in 1997 who had been an outstanding Post 2 player for Selby along with his three talented brothers. Rice, a former standout college player and minor league pitcher with a superior fastball, ended his excellent 19 year career with Post 2 at the end of the 2004 season. He had turned over the head coaching job to Ernie Galusky prior to the 2004 season, but was the bench coach for the Morgantown team when they captured the 2004 West Virginia State Championship – his second having won the crown in 1999, the year Morgantown hosted their first Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.
Ernie Galusky grew up in a baseball family and dreamed of playing for Morgantown Post 2 as a youngster. His local American Legion in Kingwood started a program when Ernie reached high school age and, by rule, the Masontown native played his career with the Preston American Legion team.
After a successful collegiate career at Davis and Elkins College, Galusky stayed on as an assistant at his Alma Mater. He later served as an Assistant Coach at West Virginia University for three seasons and spent two summers coaching college prospects in the prestigious Valley League in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He served as an assistant for the Staunton Braves in 2002 and then became the manager of the Covington Lumberjacks in 2003.
Galusky took on the Post 2 job in 2004 and collected the first of three State Championships to date under his leadership. The 2004 team featured Indiana Tech standout, and current minor league pitcher, Josh Judy along with freshman star Jedd Gyorko, now the starting shortstop and All-Big East performer for West Virginia University.
In 2005 Galusky hired long time friend and respected baseball man Jerry Mahoney to be his Associate Head Coach. Post 2 hitters have thrived under Mahoney’s leadership and have won back to back State Championships.
Galusky and Mahoney's 2007 team is widely considered the best ever for the well respected Morgantown program posting a gaudy 52- 7 mark and finishing in the national top ten losing out on a trip to the World Series in the final game of the Mid-Atlantic Regional in West Lawn, Pennsylvania, to perennial power Boyertown – the Pennsylvania State Champs.
Despite losing Gyorko and lights out right-hander Andy Altemus after the 2007 season, hopes were high going into 2008 with a strong nucleus back. Early season injuries, however, to senior stars Kevin Holdsworth, Zack Miller and Andrew Saab made the outlook for a repeat dismal. Post 2 rallied in the second half of the season to win the Area 2 regular season championship, advancing to the West Virginia State Tournament in Moundsville with a sweep over conference opponent Bridgeport, and then capturing a 12th State Title with a late inning rally against Wheeling Post 1.
In 2009 both the West Virginia State Tournament (July 30th-August 2nd) and the Mid-Atlantic National Regional (August 6th-August 10th) will be hosted by Morgantown Post 2 and held at beautiful Hawley Field on the Evansdale Campus of West Virginia University.
Only Wheeling Post 1 with 14 West Virginia State American Legion Baseball Championships has more hardware than Morgantown – but Post 2 has won four titles in the past ten seasons, including the most recent two. In the 24 seasons completed since Clyde Selby retired, Morgantown Post 2 – under Dale Miller, Rick Rice and Ernie Galusky – have won four West Virginia State Championships, five runner-up trophies, two National Region final four finishes and one National Regional Runner-Up Sweet 16 finish.