Randall Dulworth















In the days before Dale Hollow dam was constructed, Willow Grove was quite a thriving and well-populated area that, among other things, included a high school. From the information I obtained for this story, I was told that the first high school was a framed structure, and later the WPA built a brick building, where children from first grade all through high school attended. A wide slate rock sidewalk was placed in front of many homes along the road, and ran for approximately half a mile.

Folks in the community got together to construct a gym that was built before electricity came to that area, and a Chevrolet engine was used as a generator for the lights in the gym. Willow Grove was noted for having very good basketball teams during this time also. Among the many families who lived and raised their children in that community were Ray Dulworth and his wife Buna (McCluskey) Dulworth. They were parents of a son, Randall, and a daughter, Christine.

The Aladdin kerosene lamp that Randall learned to read by and the mantel clock that he learned how to tell time by, which were in the Dulworth home in Willow Grove, are in Randall’s home today.

Randall’s father, Ray, was well known as a very good baseball player. His father played the position of catcher on Willow Grove’s community team, and could, according to his son, get a player out on second and never get up from the crouched position a catcher usually sits in. Ray Dulworth passed along his excellent baseball skills to Randall, who went on to play professional baseball for a period of time in his life.

Randall told me that while he was a youngster growing up in Willow Grove, no rocks could be found in the road in front of their house because he would toss them in the air and then hit them with a stick. That was one of the ways he developed his good eyesight for playing baseball. He said it was much harder to keep your eye on a rock that had been thrown up in the air than to watch a baseball that was being thrown toward you.

Even today, at the age of 81, he doesn’t need glasses other than to read. He said he could tell by watching the stitches on a baseball which way it was turning and that helped him to know how to hit the ball.

During the years 1942 through 1945, Randall served his country as a member of the 69th Air Service Group of the United States Air Force. He was a mechanic and worked on engines of B29 bombers. Part of his tour of duty was in Guam.


After getting out of the military, Randall married Sidney Eldridge, who was the daughter of Sid Eldridge and Roshia (Poston) Eldridge. Sidney told me she thought Randall was a very good looking young man, and that she still thinks he’s good-looking today. Their family grew to include a daughter, Carol, and a son, James.

It was while Randall was playing on a community baseball team in Livingston that he joined a team in Crossville known as the Crossville Blues. In many newspaper clippings about the Crossville team, Randall’s name is mentioned with phrases such as “Randy Dulworth walloped three home runs as the Crossville Blues crushed the Burk Terrors of Nashville 14 to 3” or “Randy Dulworth hits a home run with one on in the third” or “cigar-smoking Randy leads in RBI’s.”

Randall’s baseball career didn’t end in Crossville, though. He was then signed on by a North Carolina team known as the Auctioneers, or the Auks for short. His picture appeared in many articles that were published in The Robesonian, a Lumberton, NC, newspaper, giving detailed accounts of how Randall led his team to victory time and time again. In one article, his picture is featured with the words “klobbered them” above his name (the word clobbered was spelled with a “k” in that article). In another article Randall was referred to as “currently leading the Auks’ hitting parade.”


Randall Dulworth cleaned up well after hours of playing baseball in his younger days. The July 12, 1949, edition of, The Robesonian, a Lumberton, NC, newspaper, reported that “Randy Dulworth smashed a fly” the previous night to bring his team’s centerfielder, Lee Bohlender, home for the Auks’ 6-3 victory.


Making a good play brought him some $27 in change one night from his followers in the stands. He told me how if a player had made a good play, someone in the crowd would pass a hat around and loose change would be placed in the hat, then following the game, it was given to that player. And not only was he well-liked by the fans of the teams he played for, his ability to play baseball caught national attention, and in the early 1950s, he was signed with the Chicago Cubs where he was to report to their Des Moines, IA, Class A farm team for spring training. But it was at this point Randall and Sidney decided they didn’t want to move that far from home, and he gave up his baseball career. He told me over the years he played all positions on the team except first base and catcher.

During the years that followed his baseball career, Randall worked various places in Livingston that included his father’s Ferguson tractor business known as Upchurch and Dul-worth on East Main in Livingston. He has also been employed by Livingston Limestone, as well as the tile company once operated by the owners of Livingston Limestone. At one time, he drove a truck for a company that built Interstate 40 over Rockwood Mountain. Marble making is another skill Randall has been very good at. In 1989, a reporter from The Nashville Banner did an article on Randall, describing how he ground flint from its rough beginnings to fashion something that was used in the 1988 Rolley Hole Marble National Championship to win that contest. He told the reporter that the first marbles he ever made were done in a stream over a period of six months. Later he graduated to using a variety of masonry blades and grinders to do the job.

Evidently his excellent skills as a mechanic helped him achieve the results he has had with a 1929 Ford Roadster he has owned for many years now. He told me how he had once ridden in this car when it was practically brand new. The car was once owned by Dr. Walter Frank Sidwell who lived at Willow Grove. Dr. Sidwell came to own the car because the very first owner owed him a doctor bill he couldn’t pay, so he gave Dr. Sidwell the car instead.


During the recent sunshine, Randall Dulworth pulls his 1929 Ford Roadster out of the garage to show it off.


Randall told me how Malcolm Clark (who later became Dr. Malcolm Clark) had borrowed the car one day and as Randall had to walk everywhere he went, Malcolm picked him up on the side of the road, and that’s how he got to ride in the car the first time. Years later, the car was junked and ended up in Seeb Boykin’s garden spot with weeds growing up through it. When Randall discovered the car there, he asked about it and was told Roy Pennington was supposed to be coming back to buy the car. One day not long after this, Roy was passing by Randall’s father’s garage, and Randall stopped him to ask if he was still interested in the car. Roy told him no, he wasn’t. He then went back to Mr. Boykin’s, paid him the $15 – the same price that had been quoted to Roy, and came back later with a truck to haul it home. He completely restored the car and is still driving it today. It is on its third engine now, and while I was visiting in the Dulworth home, he went down to the basement and demonstrated to me the “Ooga” horn the car has. He has driven the car several times to Indianapolis to the races, and he told me the car would easily do 100 miles an hour.

Carl French Ledbetter did an article about Randall and the roadster in a 1992 issue of Current Lines, the quarterly publication that comes from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative. A picture of Randall sitting in the car was published on the front page of this magazine, and beneath the picture, these words were printed: “With mileage equal to 10 trips around the world on used parts, this car may hold a world record for durability.”

Randall also has pictures of some small cars he refers to as “micro midgets” that were raced when the Overton County Fairgrounds used to be located where the Volunteer Foam plant is now. These small cars were mostly handmade and some of the fellows who raced them were Burns Averitt, Bill Reeser, and Larry Stephens. Randall and the 1929 Roadster are frequently seen driving around on the streets of Livingston. He said  he doesn’t get the car out when the weather is bad, but when he does take it out for a spin, you can count on heads turning to get a good look.

Although I had never met Randall personally until the day I went to visit in their home, it seems I can always remember seeing him driving around in that car. I suppose I probably knew his name, but not much more than that he owned that neat little car. I had no idea that he was such an accomplished baseball player. Discoveries such as this are an added bonus for me that comes with doing this journal.

It was a pleasure to be so warmly invited into the Dulworth home and to now share his story with others, who are probably just as surprised as I was to learn that the fellow in the little yellow roadster not only owns a neat little car, but is someone we should definitely consider a celebrity right here in our midst. And I would like to add that Randall is not at all a boastful or bragging sort of fellow that he has every right to be with having become such a highly sought after baseball player. He’s a gentle, quiet man who was glad to share his story with me, but did so in a matter-of-fact type way which left a much greater impression.

I consider it an honor to have had the opportunity to do this story, and for which I extend my thanks to Roy Pennington for getting word to me through his daughter, Donna, that a story about Randall would be something I should do.

Randall’s life is a good example of how something as simple as tossing rocks in the air and hitting them with a stick as a young boy growing up in the Willow Grove Community leads to great achievements and an outstanding career in America’s favorite pastime.

He is a citizen that the Town of Livingston should be very proud to claim as one of their own.



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