NORTHPORT, New York, November 13
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
How tough was Northport’s William S. Ketcham?
The Class of 1947 member falsified his birth certificate in high school so that he could enlist in the United States Navy for two years and serve his country during World War II.
Can you imagine facing that toughness on the fields and courts in, not one, but three different sports? Ketcham played baseball, basketball and football for the Northport Tigers through the 1940s and was induced into the district’s athletic hall of fame on Sept. 20 as a part of its inaugural class.
Over his Northport career, Ketcham earned two junior varsity and 10 varsity letters. After he served with the Navy, he came back to the high school and became a graduate of distinction.
From high school, Ketcham earned a baseball scholarship that put him on the track to Brown University in Rhode Island – but he turned it down.
Instead, in 1948 he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and worked his way through the farm system until 1951. From there, Ketcham played semi-professional baseball for a team called The Invaders.
While things never worked out for Ketcham at the professional level, he did find success elsewhere. As it turns out, old baseball players never die; they just end up playing softball.
In 1983 he was elected into the Huntington Softball Hall of Fame after a championship-winning career.
Between it all, Ketcham also had a seven-year stint as a Suffolk County high school basketball official and was named to the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record
(Thursday, November 13, 2014; A26)