Legion Baseball flashback: Minnesota team powered their way to the 1999 ALWS title

Legion Baseball flashback: Minnesota team powered their way to the 1999 ALWS title

When New Brighton, Minn., Post 513 won the 1999 American Legion World Series title, they did so with what is believed to be an all-time single season record for home runs.

Post 513 hit 126 home runs and finished with a 64-5 record that was capped by an impressive run to the ALWS title. New Brighton, coached by Jeff Larsen, outscored its opponents 133-58 in 10 national postseason games.

New Brighton won its fourth state title in seven seasons behind an offense that had three players hit 20 or more home runs: Brian Paone (31), Brad Bornhorst (25) and Billy Schneider (21).

After the team lost to St. Cloud in the opening round of the Minnesota state tournament, Schneider hit .531 in seven games to earn MVP honors as Post 513 won six straight games to win the state title.

Steve Grasley had a 4-0 pitching record in the state tournament as Post 513 advanced to the Central Plains Regional in Dickinson, N.D.

New Brighton's offense was extraordinary as it scored 13 or more runs and went 5-0 to win the regional. Paone had seven home runs and 16 RBI’s to earn MVP honors.

In the ALWS in Middletown, Conn., Post 513 kept their powerful offense going even as they suffered a loss in the final game of pool play to perennial power Brooklawn, N.J.

Paone hit three more home runs to set an American Legion Baseball record with 10 postseason home runs. Grasley threw an 8-hitter in an 8-2 opening round victory over Edmond, Okla., then was the winner in a 9-6 semifinal victory over Gallatin, Tenn.

Other Post 513 standouts were Peter Wiedenwitsch (7-hitter in 9-2 win over Chatsworth, Calif.), Brad Baglein (10-of-23 in the ALWS and 5-of-5 in the 11-5 title game win over Kennewick, Wash.) and Erik Lodgaard (5-hitter in title game).

Grasley (pitcher), Paone (first base), Schneider (second base) and Wiedenwitsch (outfield) all made the All-ALWS team.

For the season, Grasley had a 19-2 pitching record; Lodgaard (9-0), Wiedenwitsch (7-0) and Nik Wagner (5-0) also had impressive marks.

The championship was Minnesota’s third of five total ALWS championships. Richfield won in 1943, Edina in 1983, Rochester in 2003 and Eden Prairie in 2011.

“I’ve never seen a team hit like this,” Mark Paone, Brian Paone’s father and a New Brighton assistant coach told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “We’ve got good hitting up and down the lineup and this team feeds off itself. When one guy gets a home run, the other guys want to hit one.”

Grasley and outfielder-pitcher Chris Weber would go on to play professionally. Grasley spent two years in the Seattle Mariners’ organization and Weber played two years of independent baseball.


American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball

American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers more than 5,400 teams in all 50 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico.

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