Hall of Fame Inductees

Sam Leben

Sam Leben is one of only three Post 81 coaches to win back-to-back District Championships at the highest level of American Legion competition from 1954 to present (2001). In addition, Sam was an assistant coach for the State Runner-up clubs in 1972 and 1988. He also served as a statistician and athletic trainer for the 1973 and 1974 teams that placed 2nd and 4th (respectfully) in the Kansas State American Legion Tournament. From 1969-1992, Sam was a part of 16 teams sponsored by Post 81.

The local American Legion program was in danger of folding when Sam took over as head coach in 1980. The program was down and no players who were eligible to return from the previous year's team wanted to play. Sam put together a team of mainly El Dorado High School junior varsity players. He added one player from Eureka and another Wichita Southeast to complete his team.

In addition to coaching, Sam did all the scheduling and raised a then record $3600 from sponsor advertising with the help of his father, Archie. His mother, Hallie, typed and printed all the game programs. The youth and lack of experience showed early in the season as the team dropped it's first seven games and finished June with a 3-15 record. Sam finally convinced the players they could win and hours of practice paid off with a 13-7 record in July and the American Legion Fifth District Championship.

In 1981, there was no shortage of players as more than 50 individuals tried out for the senior team and a new junior team was formed by Richard Porter. The 1981 team raised a still record budget of $7200. The team started the season by winning their first seven games including the Great Bend Invitational Tournament. They also won their own tournament in late June. Following a Fourth of July trip to Texas and Oklahoma, the team boasted the best record in Kansas. They won their second consecutive Legion Fifth District Championship.

Sam also found time for many years to help coach Brad Long's El Dorado High School teams with statistics and anything else that needed to be done including helping with Kansas State High School Tournaments. He also coached twelve teams on which his children, Dan and Kim, played. He helped organize the El Dorado Indians semi-pro team in 1983. Sam Leben has spent many hours in McDonald Stadium coaching, announcing, scoring and keeping statistics. All the people he has associated with, from the American Legion and El Dorado High School, appreciate all he has done.

Thanks Sam.

About

The Baseball Hall of Fame is open by appointment by calling Sam Leben at 316-321-2357, El Dorado Parks Department at 316-322-4975 or El Dorado Recreation Department at 316-321-9100.

Location

El Dorado Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
210 N. Griffith
El Dorado, KS 67042
contact@eldoradobaseballhof.org

United States