The Mineral Wells Little League is set to start its 50th season with opening ceremonies on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Chicken Express T-Ball Field.

Several special guests, including former Major League Baseball player Merritt Ranew and a number of the league’s original players, are set to attend the ceremonies.

Ranew, who signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, played for the Houston Astros, the Braves, the Chicago Cubs, the California Angels and the Seattle Pilots before his career ended in 1969.

Mineral Wells Little League spokesman Shawn McDougal compiled the following outline of the league’s history:

The league received its first charter in 1957.

A committee headed by former Mineral Wells Mayor Ellis White is credited with starting the Mineral Wells Little League Association.

In 1957, all of the teams in the league played at Fowler Field. Perry Field and White Field were each built in 1961.

The league was integrated and opened its doors to players of all races in 1963.

Six boys teams — the White Sox, the Red Sox, the Cardinals, the Giants, the Braves and the Indians — played during the first Little League season in Mineral Wells.

Louis Anguiano, who was one of the first players to play Little League in Mineral Wells, played on the city champion Giants along with his brother, Joe Anguiano, from 1957 to 1961.

Anguiano said he enjoyed playing Little League because it gave him something to do and kept him out of trouble.

Anguiano recalled a game he played 50 years ago.

“I batted against Ravis Key, who was one of the most intimidating pitchers in the league,” said Anguiano. “When he delivered a pitch, I closed my eyes and took a big swing. The next thing I recall is standing on third base.”

About 65 boys played in the league when it started. More than 500 boys and girls are set to play softball and baseball in the league this summer.

Notes ... Former Mineral Wells Little League players or fans who have information about the early years of the league can call McDougal at: (940) 745-1760.

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