The Douglas Vets and the Los Angeles Broncos will resume their annual Memorial Day baseball rivalry this weekend at Copper King Stadium in what is being called the Sergio Brown-Ruben Campas Memorial Baseball Classic.
This year’s games mark the 50th anniversary of what has become a Memorial Day tradition between the two teams.
Local baseball historian Hector Leon said it in May of 1969 Javier Brown and Eddie Campas were about to graduate from Douglas High School. Their older brothers Sergio and Ruben along with their wives and young children were traveling from Los Angeles to Douglas to attend the graduation.
They were not alone as a caravan of baseball players, including former residents of Agua Prieta, Cananea, and a few ex Bulldogs were also making the trip.
“They called themselves (the) Broncos.” Leon said. “On Saturday of that weekend, they would play a game in Agua Prieta at Luis Encinas Stadium against a local team. On Sunday afternoon there was a family gathering at the Brown residence on Seventh Street to celebrate Javier’s graduation.”
Leon states Sergio asked his younger brother, “’Rene, do you think the Douglas guys can compete with our team the Broncos?’ We enjoyed playing in Agua Prieta but I would rather play a team from here if you think they can give us a game.”
“What!”, Leon said Rene responded, a little bit agitated. “We can do more than compete. I will form a team that can beat you.”
Efrain reportedly had better organizing skills so it became his responsibility to put a group together.
“This is how it began half a century ago,” Leon said.
Sergio and Ruben have passed away but the games have continued in their memory carrying their family names in what has become known as the Brown-Campas Memorial Classic.
“The committee has worked hard to make this year’s games a little more special,” Leon said. “There will be two games on Saturday, May 25 and two games on Sunday, May 26 at (the) historic Copper King Stadium,” he said.
Game time both days will be 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.
On Sunday, prior to the second game, there will be a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary.
“Any older veteran ballplayer who played in any year is cordially invited to attend the ceremony,” Leon said. “A certificate of appreciation will be presented to the older players in attendance. There are at least five active players who are past 70-years-old. For some, this could be their swan song.”
There is no admission charge to the games and the public is invited to attend.
While the games are being played, there will be a 50/50 raffle and a chance to take home a BBQ grill.
Following Sunday’s game, the committee will host the visiting team to a dinner-dance at the American Legion on G Avenue. The roast beef dinner will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The dance, featuring local favorite Rudy Bernal and a guest band from Los Angeles, will play from 8 p.m. to midnight. A $5 donation per person gets you into the dance. If there are any meals still available, a donation of $5 per plate will be charged for those wanting to purchase a plate.
The public is invited to attend the dinner and the dance.