The Gladys Winters Tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark is one of Oklahoma’s premier high school baseball tournaments for Class 6A (the state’s largest) teams. The invitational tournament each April features some of the state’s top ball players and is often a preview of district and playoff competition to come.
The tournament, started when the downtown Enid ballpark opened in 2000, is a memorial to Gladys Winters, a longtime Enid educator and baseball fan. Winters, who died in 1999, probably saw more baseball games than anyone else at Phillips-Failing Field, following the Enid Plainsmen, Phillips Haymakers and Enid American Legion team. She had long been proclaimed as Enid’s No. 1 baseball fan.
“What I remember about Gladys was that she was always there,’’ former Enid baseball coach and athletic director Bill Mayberry said at Winters’ funeral. “It didn’t matter what the weather was, you knew Gladys would be in her favorite seat to watch the game.’’
“She wouldn’t hesitate to give you a little advice,’’ said Mayberry, who Winters followed as a player and a coach. “If she gave advice, you always listened … it might have been how to bunt, hit or run, or if you said a bad word. Gladys didn’t hold back.’’
She was a Dodgers and Indians fan because of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, but her real favorite players were the Plainsmen, Haymakers and Legion Majors.
Gladys Winters grew up in Enid as an African American during segregation, but friends told how she helped bridge the gap between races. She was a career educator and elementary school counselor. She was active with the Booker T. Washington Community Center, Enid Inter-Racial Women’s Council and the Enid YWCA.
“Gladys was one of the reasons why Enid was such a great place to live’’