By Josh Brown
TROY — Most couples might be frustrated to have to work on their wedding anniversary — especially a momentous one like their 50th.
Most couples aren’t Frosty and Connie Brown.
So, when Troy Post 43, the American Legion baseball team that Frosty Brown coaches, had a doubleheader to play against the Cincinnati Fury on June 5, it was only fitting. After all, the couple got to celebrate their golden anniversary doing what they both love, and they got to do it at what amounts to their second home, at Duke Park.
In fact, Connie Brown was so busy preparing for the team’s annual Strawberry Festival fundraising efforts, where they sell funnel cakes and chocolate-covered strawberries, that she had to be conned into coming over to the baseball diamond to be honored alongside her husband.
“My daughters (Elizabeth and Heather) and I had to figure out a way to get her over here, so they tricked her,” Frosty Brown said. “They told her that we needed a picture taken in front of a tree that we recently planted.”
“I was just like, I do not have time to get my picture taken in front of this tree,” Connie said with a laugh. “But they were very insistent.”
So Frosty and Connie stood at home plate at the field that they’ve called home for the last 18 years and spent their own time and money renovating and taking care of, and they were recognized for both their service to the community over the years — and to each other for many more years than that.
This current season is Frosty’s 43rd season coaching Troy Post 43, and he coached high school baseball for 33 years — 28 of them at Bethel High School. But as impressive as all of those numbers are, and as much success as he’s had as a coach, it still pales in comparison to those 50 years and what he and Connie have accomplished together.
“We’ve been married longer than he’s been a coach. That should tell you something — if I didn’t like baseball, this would have been a lot harder,” Connie said with a laugh.
But she does love it.
“You have to have someone to share what you love to do with,” Frosty said. “We were going to Florida for spring training this year with our grandsons, and Connie asks ‘is Florida (University) playing?’ I looked it up, and we ended up catching a college doubleheader on the way down. The boys were excited. We watched the (Atlanta) Braves play twice, the (Boston) Red Sox once, a college doubleheader — we watched five ballgames in seven days.”
“That was my idea,” Connie said. “It’s not a one-sided thing. We both love it.”
“Connie’s even on the National Amateur Baseball Federation board, and she’ll probably be president in three or four years,” Brown said. “She really likes doing it.”
The couple has three children, daughters Heather and Elizabeth and son Darren, as well as six grandsons. And now, they even have a great granddaughter.
For decades, summertime in Troy has been synonymous with legion baseball, due in large part to the efforts of Frosty and Connie Brown. Many of Frosty’s players have gone on to play at the college level, utilizing everything they learned in high school and under Frosty’s tutelage. But with legion baseball struggling across the country, they’ve had to put in more and more effort — which they’ve done.
“Legions are folding teams all over, and even legions are folding themselves,” Connie said. “Our legion helps as much as they can, but it’s very expensive. You have to be able to volunteer a lot of your time, and we do it because we do good things and want to keep helping the kids.”
“Connie does a lot of our fundraisers, particularly the Strawberry Festival one,” Frosty said. Post 43 set a fundraising record for itself during this year’s festival. “I do the fall batting league at the end of the year, and she does things like the Christmas wreath sale in the winter and our monthly spaghetti dinners from September to May.”
“It’s a lot of work, but we do it and we appreciate everyone that supports us the way they do,” Connie said.
And over the past weekend, Post 43 baseball hosted its 28th annual Miami Valley Veterans Memorial Tournament, bringing in a number of teams, fans — and dollars — from all over.
“We’ve done this tournament for 28 years,” Frosty said. “We get teams and people to come to town, spend their money on food and hotels in our town. We’re nothing like the Strawberry Festival, but we have helped the economy over the years.”
Their focus, though, is on helping young baseball players.
“We just want to keep helping young kids,” Frosty said. “You worry that the age factor will start creeping in, but we’re trying to stave that off as much as we can.”
“We’ll continue to do what we do for as long as we can, as long as it’s fun,” Connie said. “It keeps us young, and it’s still fun.”
And as for their secret to a long and happy marriage?
“We’ve done it so long, we just know what we have to do,” Connie said with a smile before turning more serious. “Each one of us has our own part. But you’ve got to be able to communicate. Especially about the big things. You’ve got to be able to talk to each other about what’s important.”
And while each other is easily the most important thing to them, the only thing that’s close to as important? Is baseball.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132 or by email at [email protected], or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.