The Plainview High School grad pitched on the same mound where his maternal grandfather once threw — and got married.
Cameron Selensky thought first of his grandfather, Orel Dryden, who had glorious days on the pitcher's mound at Cardinal Park as a member of the Ardmore Indians.
In his final game there, Selensky started as a pitcher for the Ardmore Cardinals, sponsored by American National Bank.
“It was really sentimental for me,” Cameron said. “It was just a huge deal because 60 years ago, my grandpa got married” on that mound.
Also a pitcher, Dryden went 13-2 at Cardinal Park, throwing 127 innings in 18 games, according to baseball-reference.com. He helped the Indians win their division in the Sooner State League. (Dryden said the McAlester Rockets defeated Ardmore in the final round.)
“It was really good to me because I had a good year there in 1951,” Dryden said, reflecting on his playing days at Tribe Park — as it was known then, according to baseball-reference.com — during a telephone interview Monday. “I played under manager Bennie Warren.
“Also, that's where I got married to my high-school sweetheart, on the pitcher's mound.
“It was just a great experience for me,” Dryden added, referencing his second professional season.
He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals out of Byng High School, where he played for Marvin Stokes before graduating in 1949. The Cardinals assigned him to a minor-league affiliate in Canada, where he played for the Hamilton Cardinals in Ontario — a member of 1950 Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League.
“I got all screwed up with my draft because I had gone out of the United States and didn't notify anybody. They thought I was a draft dodger,” Dryden said, chuckling at the memory the last seven words caused. “Isn't that something?”
A native of Oakmand, he returned to Ada. His girlfriend told him about an opportunity to play at Cardinal Park. She contacted the necessary people. (Fran and Marie)
“I had one of the best years I ever had in baseball,” Dryden said. “The town was just absolutely fabulous. The fans were just fabulous to us. You couldn't ask for anything any better.”
Meanwhile, Ardmore coach Bubba Tamez told Selensky last Monday — the day of the game — that he'd get the opportunity to pitch. Consequently, he didn't have a chance to tell his grandfather.
Dryden, who is 85 years of age, has not seen Selensky play because he's lived in California for the past decade.
Selensky's first two innings went fairly smoothly. Ada tagged him for four runs in the third. Blake Williams (Davis) relieved him, notching two outs to strand two runners in scoring position.
Tamez said many of the Braves' players attend schools that play fall baseball.
Selensky said, “I was leaving the ball up. They hit the ball hard.”
Selensky hopes to play college baseball. No matter what the future holds, Selensky got to share that moment with his grandfather, whose career was cut short by arm trouble, he said.
“I never played anywhere in baseball,” Dryden said, “that I enjoyed playing any better than Ardmore.”