Born Jan. 8, 1933, in Clay County, Kan., Harold North was an avid student and player of fast-pitch softball. By age 15, he was the catcher for the Clay Center American Legion. It’s noted that during his first game, he accidently threw out a second-base runner by hitting him in the head with the ball. The runner was knocked out cold.
In 1952, Harold joined the United States Army as a signal corpsman, eventually earning the rank of sergeant. While stationed at Fort Monmouth, N.J., Harold was pulled out of basic training to play on the base’s fast-pitch softball team. During his time on the team, he had the opportunity to play with baseball legend Whitey Ford. He later spent one year in Korea before an honorable discharge in 1954.
Following his service, the Milwaukee Braves approached him about joining their farm team. However, not wanting to return to the road, Harold began working for JD Ersham Foundry in Enterprise, Kan., a job he worked before joining the Army. Later in the year, he began work at the Goodyear Tire Company in Topeka, where he stayed until his retirement in 1994.
During his 40-year career, Harold appreciated support from Goodyear management when he participated at the Shawnee County Amateur Baseball Association (SCABA). Harold played some ball with Dick Dodson, and Dick would help Harold with the instructional aspects of the SCABA teams he coached, an activity he picked up when his sons Jay and Doug were of age to play. Harold served as a coach, manager, and on the SCABA Board of Directors for 16 years. He also took on responsibility as groundskeeper and tournament director for a number of years.
Harold’s wife, Mary, is from Clay Center, and the two were married on May 27, 1955. Mary attended business school at Brown Mackie College and worked for American Home life Insurance Company in Topeka. She later decided to stay home to raise their four children, including daughters Pam and Terri.