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Cheyenne Post 6 baseball adds six more to hall of fame
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle - 11/19/2023
Nov. 17—CHEYENNE — Two of the six men recognized as Cheyenne American Legion Post 6 baseball hall of famers Thursday night never expected the honor.
Bud McBride was accustomed to Legion ballplayers not getting much — if any — individual recognition.
"There were no all-state or all-tournament teams back then," said McBride, who was part of state championship teams from 1963-65. "You won state, got the plaque and it went in the Legion hall."
Mike Gregorio Jr. didn't expect the honor because of how he viewed his playing career.
"I didn't think I was that good if I'm being honest," he said. "I was pretty average."
Both McBride and Gregorio are part of the 2023 Post 6 hall of fame class, they are joined by Rich Renner, Chace Tavelli, Cody Farrell and Jorden Mossey.
McBride was a standout left-handed pitcher and hitter for Post 6 teams that were the first in program history to win three consecutive state titles. His father worked for the Veterans Administration, and Cheyenne was the longest stop of a childhood that included time in Abilene and Lubbock, Texas, and Albuquer que.
McBride spent two seasons playing at the University of Wyoming before an elbow injury he suffered late in his Legion career forced him to hang up his cleats.
"I have such fond memories of Cheyenne, and I have never lost my love for this town or the state of Wyoming," the 76-year-old said. "Getting an honor like this means a great deal to me."
Gregorio was part of the 1963 state title team and considered himself a better fielder than a hitter.
"I remember Yogi Allen being quite a comedian on our team but, other than that, I don't remember much," Gregorio said.
Gregorio's athletic career took him to UW where he earned All-American honors as a cross-country runner in 1965. He also competed at the 1968 United States Olympic Trials.
Renner and Tavelli both played for the Sixers in the 1980s and went on to coach in the program.
Renner was a shortstop and pitcher in 1983-84, batting close to .400 and posting a 3.00 earned-run average on the mound. He went on to pitch at UW before returning to Cheyenne and coaching Post 6's junior varsity Hawks. He led that squad to its first state championship in 1987 with Tavelli at shortstop. Renner led the Hawks to two more state titles before taking over as head coach of the varsity Eagles in 1990.
Renner stepped down after that season to focus on his family and teaching.
"There's like a big magnet that keeps pulling me back (to Post 6)," Renner said with a smile. "There's a brotherhood. You play for each other, you coach for each other and you become family. ... It's about relationships, seeing people have success and building bonds that will never be broken."
Renner returned to the dugout as an assistant for Post 6's varsity in 2008.
Tavelli led Cheyenne's varsity in steals in 1989 and '90 while batting lead off and playing both middle infield spots. He coached at all levels of the program, and helped the varsity club finish as Northwest Regional runners-up in 2006.
Many of the men he coached are now leading the program and helped it become the first Wyoming team to win a regional and play in the American Legion World Series.
"You see them go through the program and then come back and give back as coaches, and it's special," Tavelli said. "Seeing what they did this season was just like icing on the cake for me. Part of the strength of the program is alumni coming back and teaching what they've learned in other places to build on what we've taught them. That's what makes a program strong.
"... The biggest treat I could have had as a coach is to watch my guys go all the way through, be successful, come back and get it done for this town."
Tavelli went on to play at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. He turned to coaching after he suffered a career-ending shoulder injury. As good as he was as a player, Tavelli joked that his coaching is what got him into the Post 6 hall of fame.
Farrell was unable to attend the ceremony in person, but watched on a video stream and gave his thoughts on the honor the Post 6 board president Phil Maggard.
"It's an honor to be inducted to the Post 6 hall of fame," Farrell wrote. "My best memories from Post 6 were all the bus trips, the winning culture we were a part of, winning state and going to regionals, and all the teammates and friends I got to play with over the years."
Farrell continued his career at New Mexico before transferring to Central Arizona where he was earned collegiate Gold Glove honors from Rawlings as a catcher. He finished his career at Texas-Arlington before enlisting in the Air Force.
Even though Farrell wasn't able to make the trip from Texas, he couldn't escape razzing from Mossey, who told a story about a future National League MVP hitting a home run off Farrell as a 12-year-old.
"He hit it about 350 feet, and none of us had seen anything like that to that point," Mossey said. "Apparently, Bryce Harper liked Cody's knuckleball."
Mossey batted .417 with 10 home runs and 44 stolen bases in 2010. He was part of state title teams all four seasons he wore a Post 6 uniform.
He signed with the University of Nebraska out of high school before wrapping up his academic career at UW.
"There are so many moments of competition, triumph, jaw-dropping plays and friendships that I could spend hours up here reminiscing," Mossey said. "The lasting impact from my time in the program is predominantly the friendships that remain today."
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Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 307-633-3137. Follow him on X at @jjohnke.
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