The history and stories of athletics at the Masonic Home can be divided into two eras. The MaHo Craftsmen era from 1923-1944 and the Franklin High School Grizzly Cub era from 1944-78.
THE GLORY DAYS OF THE CRAFTSMEN
It was said that the athletic programs at the Masonic Home created a pride of community as it became our side against the outside world. Sports writers of the day seemed to pick up on this as they described the wins and losses of the day. One writer described an important County Tourney as a game between the quiet, looking team wearing the red and grey and the well-suited players with Valentino haircuts. They went on to say that IMH cheer leader, Carol Kendall, led the yells and created enthusiam for her team not achieved by other cheer leaders. Later on Laura "Duff" Duffy received the same acclaim.
In 1926 the Craftsmen ascended to the second game of the Sectional Tourney where they were bested by 3 points. James Barnett, class of 1926, was named to the All-Star Second Team. Tom Gladden was the high point man with 18 points. In 1925 Tom brought pride to the IMH by being the first, and maybe the only, MaHo state track title holder. He won as a miler.
In November 1930 the Craftsmen won the Indiana State aggregation at Terre Haute by one point. In January 1931 the Craftsmen won three games in one day to win the County Tournament. Following are statistics of the 1929-31 team. Won 42 games and lost 6. Scored 1402 points to opponents 907. Not bad in anyone's book!!
The baseball program had a humble beginning. Seldom did the Home-Boys have more than one ball, bat or glove. It was catastrophic when the previously repaired bat could not be taped together again or the ball's cover came off the ball, and worse yet, when the ball was lost. In 1922 three teams leagues were formed from among the members of the boy's cottages. Through the generosity of the Masons ample balls, bats and catchers' gear were furnished. The teams played one another endlessly in rain or shine. This persistence and desire to win provided them with a wealth of skill and experience. Beginning in the 1925 season the IMH teams won all but one game and that was a tie. They played much larger schools including Franklin High School.
1939 was another banner year for the Craftsmen basketball team. Not only did they win the County Tournament, but they only lost by one point the Sectional Tournament to Franklin. The Franklin Grizzly Cubs went on to the finals only to be beaten by Frankfort.
IMH athletes as GRIZZLY CUBS
In 1945 the MaHo Junior High and High School students began going to Franklin High School. This influx of strong, experienced athletes benefited the Franklin High School athletic programs. In the 1946-47 season three Home-Boys were on the basket ball team that won the Sectional and Regional Tournaments only to lose in the Semi-Finals by 3 points. Home-Boy, Harold Stinson, scored 18 points to win Semi-Final Honors. The other two Home-Boys were George Transier and Paul Plake.
The 1945-46 football team had the most successful season in the annals of the school. Harold and Paul were members of the varisity of this legencary team. There were many Home-Boys on the second team. However, the second team was rarely used by the coach.
In the 1947-48 season the basketball team won the Sectional Tourney, but lost in the Regional by 3 points. The legendary Grizzly Cubs football team ended their season undefeated or tied to better their prior year's record. Home-Boys Earl Jones, George Transier, Jim Kight, Paul Plake and Tom Parks suited up for these games. Once again, the second teams members saw little action as record scores were tallied against opponents.
In the 1948-49 season the basket ball team went unbeaten in the regular season and won the Sectional Tourney only to lose by 4 points in the Regionals. Paul Plake was on the varsity. The second team was populated by Home-Boys Billy Stinson, Bob Hurst and Squeak Hurst.
The 1948-49 football varsity consisted of an all Masonic Home backfield with two MaHo'ers on the line. That year the opponents were looking to avenge the large losses they suffered at the hands of the legendary Grizzly Teams team who had graduated. Two broken legs, several missing teeth and a recurring, dislocating shoulder later the season ended with one win and one tie. Our greatest consolation was the opponents were unable to run the score up on us like it was ran up on them by our predecessors.
In the 1949-50 season there was improvement in the performance of the football team. There were fewer Home-Boys on the team. One did stand out. Al Pike was named Most Valuable Player for his outstanding playing during that season. The team won 3 games and lost 4. The basketball team was in a rebuilding mode with few wins, but much spirit.