The legend of Jimmy Butcher has spread West.
The iconic Tri-City Americans fan known for his boisterous "woo-hoo" and unfaltering smile produced the needed spark for an out-of-town Babe Ruth youth baseball team last week during a state championship tournament at Roy Johnson Field in Kennewick.
Butcher had been tapped to sing the National Anthem throughout the tournament and to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the championship game, but what unfolded off the field proved most memorable.
And it all started with "Pork Chop" -- Kevin Cleavinger, a 14-year-old from the Twin Cities Babe Ruth team of Centralia and Chehalis, who sported a man's pair of sideburns and a personality almost as big as Butcher's.
"It was almost like two peas in a pod when you saw them together," Twin Cities manager Travis Gonia said.
Butcher became a one-man cheering section for Twin Cities, and it didn't take long for much of the crowd to follow suit.
"I got to cheering for them," Butcher said. "Some of the kids on the team told me I was their good luck charm."
Twin Cities rode Butcher's mojo all the way to last Sunday's championship game against Hazel Del Metro, a squad that thumped the Centralia-Chehalis boys 20-3 just a day earlier.
Hazel Del Metro also had beaten Twin Cities during the 13-year-olds Babe Ruth state championship last year.
"(Hazel Del Metro) had 10-runned everybody in the tournament and were undefeated," said Angela Carr, who had a son on the Kennewick Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Star team and had asked Butcher to sing the anthem at the tournament.
The Kennewick boys were eliminated Thursday when they lost 28-2 to Hazel Del Metro.
But Butcher proved a shot in the arm for the visiting team.
The Herald previously featured Butcher, a self-described slow learner who bags groceries and worked as a crossing guard, when the Americans hockey team honored him in 2011 with a bobblehead in his likeness for his unwavering support as a fan.
Last weekend, Butcher signed some of his leftover bobbleheads for the Twin City players and even composed a cheer for the group -- "Pump, pump, pump it up. P-U-M-P, pump it up. Keep, keep, keep it up. Keep that Twin Cities spirit up."
His enthusiasm was infectious, especially when the boys' endurance was waning.
"He fired them back up," Carr said. "They had energy again."
Twin Cities went on to defeat Hazel Del Metro 9-3 in the championship game as Butcher's exhortations rang out from the stands.
"Jimmy's a presence wherever he goes," Gonia said. "If you could bottle that stuff up and sell it, you'd be a millionaire."
Twin Cities plays in a regional tournament next week in Whitefish, Mont. And those Jimmy Butcher bobbleheads? They'll be along for the ride.
"I'm sure we'll have one or two of them there for sure," Gonia said. "It may be one of those good luck charms that we'll take with us."
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org