Shelton: Broomfield baseball honors 50th anniversary of first state title team

BROOMFIELD — There are minute details about Broomfield’s 1963 baseball team that are foggy for Craig Clapper. But one thing that is crystal clear for the long-time Broomfield resident is that it was a heck of a ball club.

“We were,” the team’s left-handed pitcher said. “A lot of us had played together since we were around 12-years-old. We all played summer ball together. … I don’t think we had a bad player on the team.”

The by-gone Eagle sluggers had to have done something right that year, because the team claimed the first team championship for the school. And at a short ceremony before Broomfield baseball’s game Saturday against Centaurus, the program honored the 50th anniversary of the title.

Clapper, catcher Jim Wilpolt and coach Tom Baldwin showed up, shook the present Eagles’ hands and posed for some pictures with their state trophy. And, of course, they reminisced about the good old days.

One thing that stood out for Wilpolt about the season was nobody expected the Eagles to win. With six losses upon entering the state tournament, the team was the decided underdogs.

“And we had to play Palisade for the championship in Grand Junction,” he said. “When we beat them it was fantastic.”

Broomfield knocked off the Bulldogs 7-3 to claim the title. But as Baldwin points out, making the postseason was decidedly easier than what the present-day team has to contend with to earn a berth.

“We only had to win one league game, because we only had one other team in the league — Evergreen,” the coach said.

Times have changed in Broomfield since the halcyon days of 1963. Back then the now bustling suburb was just taking root.

“My family was the 50th one to move in, in 1957,” Clapper said. “When I graduated I only had 97 people in my senior class.”

In the same breath, the players and coaches also see plenty of similarities between the town now and then.

This is particularly true when it comes to athletic success. Broomfield has seen is share of titles since winning that first trophy. And to the small contingent on hand Saturday, it was a special feeling to be in on the ground floor of the winning tradition.

“It makes you feel good,” Wilpolt said. “And that they honor us 50 year later.”

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