His actual name was Ken Ingalls Jr. but he was much better known by the nickname “Spike.” His grandparents lived next door to mine on Leonard Street, a one block, one way thoroughfare in Amsterdam’s West End, which connects Main Street to Division. Spike was a year older than my big brother Jerry and his younger brother John Ingalls was a year older than me. So naturally, regardless of what two-on-two games we used to play, either on the street in front of our grandparents’ houses or in the large mill yard across across the way, the sides were always Spike and Jerry against Johnny and me and we would always get clobbered.
But getting beat by Spike was not an uncommon thing for any youngster from these parts back in the early 1960’s. To this day, I have never seen a twelve-year-old kid throw a baseball harder than he could at that age. And he was by no means one dimensional. In fact, Spike Ingalls was the “Babe Ruth” of Amsterdam’s Suburban League in 1962. In addition to pitching his Fort Johnson team to an 11-1 Championship season that year, he also banged a ton of home runs, averaged well over .600 and was the winning pitcher in both of that year’s All Star games, which pitted the best players from inside the city of Amsterdam against the best players from all the villages and towns surrounding it.
He was good enough and played long enough to get named Opening Day starter as a sophomore for the 1965-66 Amsterdam High School Varsity nine and he threw a three hitter …
I’ve already started work on the second volume of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays” and Spike’s complete story will be featured in it. I will be sharing the complete posts of some of the Volume II birthday celebrants in future issues of the Amsterdam Birthday Blog Newsletter. If you are not yet a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up for free here.
This US Air Force pilot who lost his life in Vietnam shared Spike Ingalls March 11th birthday.