Baseball will always be a way of life in Carbon County
At the top of the scoreboard at the Helper American Legion Baseball Park you will see much more than the score of the game going on or the names of the local sponsors that give so much to the youth of our community.
You will see the name Larry Hribar.
I started coaching American Legion baseball in 1995 and I often wondered about the story behind the name.
When we installed our new scoreboard for the park in 2009, I wanted to make sure it resembled the old one as much as possible. This meant putting the name of Larry Hribar back where it belonged. I was interested in the story of Larry and what his name has meant to baseball in the Carbon County area.
Larry and Gary Hribar were identical twins that terrorized opposing coaches and players from their days in the local little league and all the way up through American Legion ball and into Junior College baseball.
The twins were dubbed as double trouble and many said had they been triplets instead of just twins they for sure would have won the WBBA title in 1964 and many titles after that.
The boys grew up helping Carbon High capture the Region Four title and almost leading the Helper American Legion to state title in 1969.
In that year the Helper Legion team finished third in the state tournament after losing an epic 15 inning battle to Clearfield in the state semi-final game.
Many still say it's the best game they ever witnessed.
The following year the two were part of a team that put an end to era of baseball that we will probably never see again.
The Granite American Legion team had dominated the Legion ranks and came to Helper in 1970 with a 39-game winning streak.
In the second game of a double header the two helped fuel a come from behind victory that put an end to the winning streak as the Helper American Legion team defeated Granite 2-1.
Many great victories have come and gone and these great memories only scratch the surface of what baseball has meant to this community.
An unfortunate accidental shooting on July 11, 1971 took the life of 19-year old Larry Hribar. Larry was getting ready to return to the College of Eastern Utah (now USU Eastern) for a second year of the game he and his family loved so much.
Sports writer Walt Borla put it best at the time as he wrote, "The passing of Larry surely marks an end to an era of youth baseball in this county."
Since Larry's passing this community has rebuilt a new era of baseball. Many state titles have since been won starting in the Little League and continuing on through to American Legion Baseball.
Being the coach of the Helper American Legion Team for the past 16 years has made me very proud. I feel so lucky to be mentioned as player and now as a coach for this great pastime that has made our county what it is today.
Many players have come and gone throughout the years and every one of them has story to be told, but the memories and spirit of Larry Hribar will forever live on as his name sits atop the scoreboard at the Helper American Legion Ballpark.
I would like to thank Tony Hribar for all his support and for letting me be a part of his brother's journey as they grew up playing this great pastime. Baseball will for sure always be a way of life in Carbon County.