The Micronesian Olympics—now known as the Micronesian Games for copyright reasons—were first held in 1969. As these photographs attest, the athletes competed in front of crowds that numbered in the dozens or even less. Yet those first Olympics still occupy a cherished place in the memories of Micronesian sports fans, particularly those whose tastes run toward baseball. As one of the event’s key figures recalls:
I was one of the chief organizers of the ’69 Micronesian Olympics and had the honor of watching Sotup Masatoki Steven urged on and cheer for the Chuukese team. He is truly Legendary.
Yes Susumu also is a Legend. Think he was in his early 50s when he pitched in 1969. The Palauan pitcher was Martin Ngchar. Some citizens of Micronesia call that gold medal game the greatest baseball game in the history of Micronesia.
To those lucky souls in the stands that day, that game must mean far more than the 1958 NFL Championship—even though the players involved never got their shot at the big time. Nor, for that matter, another shot at Micronesian glory; the next games weren’t held for another twenty-one year, by which time even hardy Yes Susumu couldn’t toss a slider to save his life.
Check out the full archive of 1969 Micronesian Olympics photos here. There is something quite alluring about the color processing that the developers used.