Summers used to mean meeting up with buddies not long after breakfast and playing some form of baseball, returning home for lunch and then heading back out the door again.
Jim Lumpe cherishes those days, as you might imagine. He and several of his childhood friends went on to further the tradition of Glendale High School baseball.
“We all played basketball together and played baseball together. We just played some sport year-round,” Lumpe said. “Those are the best memories.”
Lumpe can add another memory soon as the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame gives a nod to his career by recognizing the former infielder as part of its Diamond 9 on May 27 in Springfield.
The ceremony is part of the Hall’s Baseball Sports Enthusiasts Luncheon, at which former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa will be named a Missouri Sports Legend.
A standout at Glendale
Lumpe helped Glendale win Class 4 high school state championships in 1976 and 1978 and went on to a play for the Missouri Tigers before spending a couple of seasons in the Montreal Expos farm system.
He was a four-year baseball member at Glendale and lettered three seasons at Mizzou, where in 1982 he led the team with a .373 average. His .363 career average ranks eighth all-time in the Mizzou program, and Lumpe was on the Tigers’ 1980 Big Eight championship team.
What a run it was.
“For me, when I think about playing baseball, the real highlight was Glendale,” Lumpe said. “That’s where, personally, you’re playing with your good friends and my best friend’s dad, Don Provance, was the coach. We had some pretty good players, including Brad Simmons.”
Lumpe was in the same 1978 graduating class as Dave Dickensheet, Mark Bailey and Steve Hunter. Dickensheet and Bailey went on to pitch for Missouri State, with Bailey going on to the minor leagues and eventually the big leagues with the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants.
Back in their childhood, they built their baseball IQ by getting out of the house almost every day.
“We’d go out and play catch and pitch to each other and play pick-up games,” Lumpe said. “They are definitely my very best memories because we as a group, we ended up having some good success. And I still keep in touch with a lot of them.”
In 1978, Glendale was fearless, scoring a semifinal win against a St. Mary’s team that featured a standout pitcher. Lumpe, a shortstop and leadoff man, opened the game with a single on the first pitch and scored on Doug Provance’s triple off the right field wall.
Dicksheet and Billy Barnes pitched the team to wins in the semifinals and championship.
“All the press was about how tough this St. Louis school was. They had this pitcher and all we heard was how hard he threw,” Lumpe said. “(The first two hits) kind of set the tone for the weekend. We just competed with those guys extremely well.”
For Lumpe, he had also learned the game from his dad, Jerry, a big-leaguer with the New York Yankees (1956-1959), Kansas City Athletics (1959-1963) and Detroit Tigers (1964-1967).
“Dad, he was a great man. He never pushed me to play ball. I remember him playing pepper with me in Detroit. He was a very good coach for me. And he was very supportive. If he ever saw something I could improve on, he’d teach me.”
At Mizzou, Lumpe helped the Tigers to some of their best years in the 1980s. His playing time increased dramatically during his junior season but, unfortunately, Lumpe suffered a knee injury. He returned to enjoy a nice season in 1982, leading the team in hitting, and was drafted in the 24th round by the Montreal Expos.
Lumpe’s journey took him to short-season New York-Penn League club in Jamestown, N.Y. in 1982 and the Rookie-level Pioneer League with Calgary the next season before he called it a career.
Even better, Lumpe finished his finance degree at Mizzou and has been in the financial services industry for 25 years. These days, he works at Central Trust and Investment Company in Springfield as a vice president and senior portfolio manager.
His mother, Vivian, still lives in Springfield. Jim also has a brother, Jerry, and sister, CeCe, and is an uncle to Jared, Aaron, Jonathan, Ben and Emily. His dad passed away in August 2014.
“We really had some good athletes and good ball players (in the 60s and 70s),” Lumpe said of Springfield. “Especially our senior year, to go out that way, it was special.”
WANT TO GO?
The ceremony: The Baseball Sports Enthusiasts Luncheon presented by Ozarks Coca Cola/Dr Pepper at is 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 27 at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield.
Tickets & sponsorships: $40, or $100 for a head table ticket. Numerous sponsorships are available, including a table of eight for $400, which includes associate sponsorship recognition in the printed program. Call 417-889-3100.
For Jerry Lumpe tickets & sponsorships, ask for Sharyn Wagoner.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa will be honored as a Missouri Sports Legend, in which a specially commissioned sculpture, cast in bronze, will line the Legends Walkway.
Byron Hagler, who won almost 600 baseball games and reached nine state final fours as the head coach of Licking and Hillcrest high schools. His 1988 and 1989 Licking teams won Class 2 state championships.
Diane Juergensmeyer, the former St. Elizabeth High School coach who won more than 400 games and three state championships in 1992, 1994 and 2002.
Roy Burlison, a standout fast-pitch pitcher in the American Softball Association in the 1970s and 1980s. He played on teams in St. Louis and Springfield.
John Schaefer, CEO of Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper, is the recipient of the President’s Award.
Diamond 9: baseball standouts Jack Burrell of Humansville and Southwest Baptist; Brad Simmons of Glendale High School and the Kansas City Royals; Kelly Snider of Hillcrest High School the Oklahoma Sooners and the Los Angeles Dodgers; Barry Short of Mansfield High School, Three Rivers Community College and the New York Mets; Jim Lumpe of Glendale High School, the Mizzou Tigers and Montreal Expos; and former American Softball Association or college/high school softball standouts in Marionville’s Janice Crumpley Bluebaum, Hillcrest graduate Tim Blasi, Caitlin Chapin of Ozark High School and Missouri State; and Missouri Southern graduate Diane Miller.