Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame honors players and contributors from the counties of Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Montgomery, and Roanoke and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties.
Located next to the Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium, the Hall is opened during the minor league season on selected nights.
Hall of Fame Inductees
Inductees are selected by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors and Officers each year based on nominations submitted. Each class is honored at an annual banquet held at the Salem Civic Center in February.
Walter "Steve" Brodie
Brodie was Roanoke’s first major leaguer (1890-1902). Considered one of the finest outfielders of his day, Brodie batted a career .303 for Boston, St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and New York in the National League and Baltimore in the American League. Brodie lived in Roanoke during most of his major league career, and he brought baseball attention to the area through more than his centerfield play. His “Duke of Roanoke” nickname was a tribute to his refined, gentlemanly nature. When he was traded from the Orioles to Pittsburgh, he coaxed the Pirates into holding spring training in Roanoke in 1897. He also coached at Rutgers, Princeton, and the Naval Academy.
F.J. "Kid" Carr
Among the best-known and most-liked men in the Roanoke Valley’s baseball history, Carr’s work in the sport spanned more than 70 years. A Walters, Virginia native, he came to Roanoke in 1926 to pitch in the Norfolk & Western Railroad League, where he was 15-0 in his first season. A player for 25 years across Southwest Virginia, Carr also managed in semipro ball in Salem and Bedford. In 1947, Carr began umpiring and became a professional scout with the Philadelphia Phillies. He changed clubs and worked two decades for Pittsburgh. Carr was a familiar face behind backstops at pro, college, American Legion and high school games throughout the region.
A Roanoke native who was the National League’s Fireman of the Year in 1983, the southpaw had eight wins and 25 saves for NL champion Philadelphia. Holland, known for his fastball, saved 29 games the following season for the Phillies. He also pitched in the majors with Pittsburgh, San Francisco, California and the New York Yankees. In 10 major-league seasons (1977, 79-87), Holland had a 2.98 ERA, 78 saves and 31 wins. He pitched several no- hitters at Lucy Addison High and starred for American Legion Post 3 and North Carolina A&T. He was 4-2 with 13 saves for the Salem Pirates in a 1976 homecoming en route to the majors.
With the Salem Pirates, Parker was a Class A Carolina League MVP in 1972, missing a Triple Crown by one homer. He batted .310 with 22 HR,101 RBI, 91 runs, 38 stolen bases and 30 doubles. Still active as a player when elected, Parker had spent 19 seasons in the majors, with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Oakland, Milwaukee, California, and Toronto, primarily as a right fielder and DH. He was a feared lefthanded hitter nicknamed “The Cobra,” and he played in three World Series, five championship series and six All- Star Games. Parker was the National League MVP in 1978 with Pittsburgh. He won two NL batting titles (1977-78) and three Gold Gloves.
The Salem native batted .272 in nine major league seasons as an outfielder with Texas, the New York Yankees, and Atlanta. Sample starred at Andrew Lewis High (where he doubled as a football receiver), for American Legion Post 3 and at James Madison University. In 1976, he was Madison’s first All-America selection, batting .421. His career average of .338 remains a school record. His best big-league season was 1983, when he hit .274 with 12 homers, 57 RBI and 44 stolen bases for the Rangers. After his playing days, Sample became a network telecast analyst and baseball journalist. He also produced a movie. The Salem High baseball field is named for him.
Crosswhite is the all-time leader in victories by an Appalachian League manager. The Salem native and former catcher managed five different Appy clubs over 10 seasons (1946-55), winning pennants at New River, Kingsport, Welch, and Salem. His Appy record was 688-533. Crosswhite also won the 1942 pennant at Pulaski in the Class C Virginia League. He had more than 800 career wins as a skipper. He played for Andrew Lewis High in the late ’20s and began his pro career with Galax in the Virginia League in 1933-34. He played in the Yankees farm system at Bassett and Norfolk (1935-38), and with the Roanoke Red Sox in the Piedmont League from 1943-45. Later a scout, Crosswhite died in 1971.
Hodges played 12 seasons as a catcher with the New York Mets (1973-84), batting .240 primarily as a backup and pinch-hitter. As a rookie, he played in the 1973 World Series. He batted .260 as a part-time starter in 1983 and was 6-for-14 as a pinch hitter. A Rocky Mount native and resident, Hodges was an All-Piedmont District catcher at Franklin County High. At Appalachian State University, he won the Adirondack Big Stick Award as a sophomore, batting .422. As a junior in 1971, Hodges was an NAIA All-America choice and hit .714 in the NAIA national tournament. A member of the Appalachian State Hall of Fame, Hodges reached the majors after less than two seasons in the minors.
Oates, the Baltimore Orioles’ manager at his induction, came to Virginia Tech from Prince George and batted .372 in two seasons before signing with the Birds. The catcher became the second Tech product to reach the majors. He spent 11 seasons (1970, ’72-81) with the Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees. Oates batted a career .250 and appeared in two World Series with Los Angeles. He managed three seasons in the minors, winning Southern (AA) and International (AAA) league titles (1982 and ’88) at Nashville and Rochester and was the IL runner-up at Columbus (’83). From 1984- 87, he was a coach with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore’s first base coach from 1989 until 1991, when he was named O's manager.
A Roanoke area native and Bedford resident, Russ Peters played 10 seasons in the American League with the Philadelphia Athletics (1936-38), Cleveland Indians (1940-44, ’46), and St. Louis Browns (1947). Peters batted .235, primarily as a utility infielder. He was the first AL infielder to wear glasses, and with the Athletics in 1936, Peters became one of the few players in history to homer over the famous Shibe Park roof. In his final season, with the Browns, Peters led the majors in pinch-hitting (6-for-11). He batted a solid .298 as a career pinch-hitter. Peters spent his youth in Dayton, Ohio, returning to Roanoke in 1932 to begin his baseball career in the Railroad League.
Recognized as “Mr. Baseball” in the Roanoke Valley for three decades, Richardson is responsible for keeping Salem teams in the Appalachian and Carolina leagues from 1955-79. Richardson, a grocer, teamed with Jack Dame to head the Salem Athletic Club, the guiding force behind local pro baseball. Richardson, the club’s vice president, was known for handling game-day operations of the franchise in a quiet, classy way, often paying baseball bills from his grocery store receipts. A Riner native, Richardson is a 1934 Salem High graduate. Richardson was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star for Army service in Europe in World War II. He is a two-time president of the Associated Grocers of America.
Cruz, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ scouting supervisor in Latin America, was regarded as the Salem Pirates’ most popular player during the club’s first two decades. The Dominican Republic native signed with Pittsburgh in 1965 and began as an infielder with Gastonia in the Western Carolinas League. He first played for Salem in 1968, batting .246 as shortstop. He rose to Class AAA in 1970-71. Cruz returned to Salem in 1974-77 to finish his career as a player-coach. He batted .294 over five Salem seasons, with 38 stolen bases, 9 homers, and 183 RBI. His .326 average for Salem’s 1974 Carolina League-winning team nearly won the batting title. His experience and guidance were crucial to Latin players who came to Salem.
Longtime manager of the Salem Civic Center, Jack Dame was GM of the Salem club in the Appalachian League and president of the Salem Athletic Club. He and Ralph Richardson worked closely as founders of the franchise. Dame devoted his considerable energy to organizing and promoting. He began in baseball management in 1949 with a semipro team from Salem and was the guiding force of the club in the 1950s and ’60s in the Appalachian League, as the franchise moved toward Carolina League membership. Named minor league executive of the year several times, Dame also was general manager of the first Salem Rebels hockey club and served as a city councilman. Dame died in 1982 at age 61.
Boyd "Hawkbill" Hall
A major presence in Franklin County baseball since the 1920s, Hall is known and honored for his volunteer work for the sport. After playing semipro ball, Hall helped form county leagues in which he coached for two decades. He founded an umpires association and called games himself. He built fences at several fields, dragged diamonds with his personal vehicles and purchased bats, balls and uniforms for teams. He even sold concessions from the back of his truck. Hall, 87 at his induction, is a father of 11, including eight boys. “We needed one more boy for a baseball team,” Hall often said of himself and his wife Edna. Hall worked 41 years for a furniture company and also farmed corn and tobacco.
Humphreys grew up in Villamont and graduated from Montvale High and Hampden-Sydney College before reaching the majors. He pitched for five clubs – Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago (Cubs), Washington and Milwaukee over nine seasons (1962-70) with a 27-21 record and 3.36 ERA. His two seasons in St. Louis included one inning of perfect relief in Game 6 of the 1964 World Series for the champion Cardinals. Humphreys’ unusual “rocking-chair” windup and competitiveness were his trademarks. Later, he coached Virginia Tech to a 135-60 record from 1974-78, including two NCAA tournament berths. In 1979, he returned to pro baseball with the Toronto organization as a minor-league instructor and manager.
A 14-year major league veteran with Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago (White Sox), Maxwell played with the Roanoke Red Sox from 1947-49. Originally a pitcher, his hitting ability enabled his transition to the outfield at Class D Wellsville (NY), in ’47. For the RoSox in 1948, he batted .294 with 12 homers and 65 RBI. The next season, he won the Class B Piedmont League’s Triple Crown with a .345 batting average, 29 homers and 112 RBI. Maxwell’s prodigious homers at Maher Field “used to bomb the tennis courts at South Roanoke Park.” The southpaw batted .264 in his major league career, with 148 homers. He starred as the Tigers’ left fielder from 1956-60, averaging 24 homers and 82 RBI per season.
Bernard "Junior" Epperly
A legend among sandlot coaches in Salem, Epperly coached through the 1950s and ’60s and was regarded as one of the area’s finest teachers of baseball fundamentals. Some of the best players Salem produced played for his Dr Pepper and Salem Quarterback Club teams, including future pros Billy Sample and Sandy Hill. He won numerous championships during his two decades of coaching in the Salem recreation program. Junior’s 1967 team was featured in “Clock Dial,” the national magazine for Dr Pepper Bottling Co. He was “from the old school,” and never accepted anything but the best effort. Epperly, widely respected for his coaching work throughout the Roanoke Valley, retired from coaching in 1970.
Howe, a Pittsburgh native, was working for Westinghouse as a computer programmer in 1970 when he attended a Pirates’ tryout camp at age 23. The next year he was the Carolina League batting champion. He spent his first pro baseball season in Salem, batting .348 with 12 homers and 79 RBI. He reached the majors in 1974 with the Bucs, then was traded to Houston in ’76. In 1981, he led the Astros with a .296 batting average. After eight seasons with Houston, Howe spent his final two (1984-85) with St. Louis. Howe was a coach with Texas from 1985-88, then managed the Astros for five years. At the time of his induction, Howe was the batting coach for the Colorado Rockies, new parent club of the Salem Avalanche.
Manuel, 1963 graduate of Parry McCluer High in Buena Vista, was the first American to be named MVP in Japanese Baseball, earning that honor with the Kintetsu Buffaloes (1979). He played on major league division winners with Minnesota and the Los Angeles Dodgers before heading to Japan. The four-time Japan all-star, hit 194 homers with a .308 average in nine seasons. His best season was 1980, when he had 48 homers, 132 RBI and a .326 average for Kintetsu. He managed for Minnesota, Detroit and Cleveland in the minor leagues, and he guided A A A teams in the Cleveland system to Pacific Coast and International League titles in 1992-93. Manuel was in his fourth year as the Indians’ hitting instructor at induction.
Baseball in Franklin County is rooted in men like Muse. He began playing in his late teens, in the 1930s, as a second baseman for the Rocky Mount Dependable Nine, an independent team, and the Rocky Mount Hawks, a well-known area black team. Muse has long been known for his work with youth, and his prominence is based in the diamond he unselfishly cut on his farm. Muse Field has been used by youth and high school teams since 1956. Ferrum College has played there as well. Muse Field also was home of summer amateur league games, and the Franklin County Rec Department used the field since 1966. Muse, in his 80s at his induction, was also honored by Babe Ruth Baseball for commitment to youth.
Born in 1905, Ransone is a Botetourt County baseball legend. The strong-armed catcher played into his 60’s and was as good behind the plate as major leaguers. In 1919, he starred as a sophomore at Buchanan High School and later played semipro in Staunton. He attended VMI, where he was a catcher and ran track. He played in the 1920s in the Virginia Mountain League, and another four seasons in the late ’30s for Bassett in the Class D Bi-State League. Later he coached semipro and amateur teams in Botetourt. Ransone won two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in World War II, where his Army action included Omaha Beach. Ransone, 89 at his induction, was been a member of the Buchanan Fire Department.
He’s “Mr. Baseball” in Bedford County – and for good reason. Cutler ranks first in victories among active Virginia High School League coaches and was the first coach in Group AA history to reach 400 victories. The Liberty High coach had only four losing seasons. He began coaching at Bedford High in 1961, before school consolidation. Cutler coached in the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival and has worked three Virginia High School All-Star games. His Minutemen won the 1977 state title. The Hampden-Sydney graduate has been honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association for his dedication and leadership. His coaching career began at age 15, when he guided a Little League team in Richlands.
Hartman became Virginia Tech’s head coach in 1979, already having established NAIA success at High Point. Recognized in the college game for his personable, open-door approach and aggressive style, Hartman became the ninth coach in Division I baseball history to reach 1,000 victories in 1992. At the time of induction, Hartman ranked fourth among active Division I coaches in wins, with 1,103, including 620 victories in 17 Hokie seasons. A Gastonia, NC native, Hartman was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Home Plate Club of Washington, D.C. He also has coached internationally for USA Baseball in events in Cuba, South Korea, Japan, and Canada. Hartman has had 59 players drafted.
LaPierre is a legend in Roanoke Valley sandlot and American Legion baseball and is one of the founders of this Hall of Fame. Wayne’s connections with local baseball date to 1960, when he helped establish the Garden City sandlot program. Over the years, through his work with Kiwanis and American Legion, he helped build fields and raised funds to enable area youths to play. He was the longtime district supervisor of Legion ball and was very active in the Roanoke Post 3 program. A retired accountant from General Electric and former administrator at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Roanoke, LaPierre served as treasurer and was a member of the original board of the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame.
Tekulve’s reputation as a bullpen stopper began at Salem’s Municipal Field. The righthander had 15 wins and 17 saves in 1970 and part of ’71 with the Salem Rebels, fanning 137 batters in 154 innings. The Ohio native was a star for Pittsburgh, and by the time he finished 16 major league seasons, he owned the MLB record for most relief appearances (1,050) and most relief innings (1,436). He also owns the National League record for most games pitched and Pittsburgh’s career saves mark (158). He finished his career with Philadelphia and Cincinnati, after setting a World Series record with three saves for the Bucs in 1979. In ’87, he set the Phillies’ club record for appearances in a season (90). He retired in 1989.
At the time of Demeter’s Induction, he was the last manager to lead a Salem club to a Carolina League championship (1987), after an 80-59 regular season. That was his fourth season as the organization’s skipper in the Class A league, and his last season as a manager. Demeter, an Ohio resident, played 12 years of Class AAA ball, and the third baseman appeared briefly in the majors with Detroit (1959) and Cleveland (1960). In 1971 he became a special assistant in the St. Louis system, and then moved to the Pirates’ organization, where he spent the nine years as a manager. Besides Salem success, he led the AAA Charleston Charlies to the playoffs in 1975. He was a coach with the parent Pirates in 1985.
A three-sport star at Franklin County High School, Hall organized the first Little League team in Rocky Mount in 1957. That was the start of many years as a youth coach. Hall coached at various levels, taking Little League and American Legion teams to state titles. One of his Connie Mack League teams won the state crown and played in the national tournament in Memphis. He has been president of the Franklin County High boosters, Dixie Youth Baseball, Ferrum College Booster Club and an athletic officer with American Legion Post 6. Hall coached all five Franklin County products who have been drafted by professional clubs. Hall was an engineering supervisor for the Lane Company for almost 40 years.
Known as “Ole Hardrock,” Hardwick was an amateur and pro baseball star. He grew up in Craig County and Salem, and in two semipro seasons before World War II, he went 41-6 on the mound, with Valleydoah. Hardwick played professionally for the New River Rebels in the Appalachian League from 1946-51 and with the Bluefield Grays the next two seasons. In 1946, he won 19 consecutive games to start the season, finishing 24-3. Hardwick, who also played service ball while in the Army, later served as a scout for the New York and San Francisco Giants. A prominent New River Valley businessman for years, Hardwick is a Blacksburg resident.
Ott was a .304 hitter and All-Star outfielder for Salem’s Carolina League championship club in 1972, before going on to nine years in the majors, primarily as a catcher. Ott, a Muncy, PA, native, was part of Pittsburgh’s 1979 World Series title team, hitting .333 in the Series against Baltimore. He was traded to California in 1981, and his career was cut short by injuries. A career .259 hitter in the big leagues, Ott also was a manager in the Carolina and New York – Penn leagues in 1985-86. He also coached in the Cincinnati organization before spending five years on the Houston Astros coaching staff. After retiring from the game, Ott, 45, moved to the Smith Mountain Lake area.
Oyler, a Roanoke native and lifelong resident, was honored for more than his role as one of the founders of the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame. As an American Legion coach for Roanoke Post 3 from 1978-96, Oyler guided teams to a 230-121 record and six regular season championships. His teams won five Legion district tournament titles. He also has been the Post 3 baseball chairman from 1980 until the time of his induction. Oyler began coaching youth baseball in 1970 in the Cave Spring National League and was instrumental in the constructing Green Valley Field. He also was president and coach in the Cave Spring Senior League, winning three titles. He was a contractor and appraiser for over 40 years.
Bushkar began playing baseball in high school in 1941 and he quickly signed an athletic grant with Virginia Tech, where he played from 1942-45 as pitcher and shortstop. He batted over .300 for the Gobblers and was inducted into Tech’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. Bushkar signed a pro contract with the New York Yankees, but an injury brought his release. He began playing with New River in the Appalachian League, and when the Chicago Cubs signed him, Bushkar played in the Three-I League, Western Association, and New England League from 1946-48. He later coached high school and American Legion ball in Roanoke and played semipro ball in Roanoke from 1951-59 before turning to officiating.
Guthrie, a Roanoke native, has become one of the most prominent teachers of baseball in Roanoke Valley history, having coached youth baseball for 30 years at the time of his induction. Guthrie began coaching in 1964 in the Cave Spring Little League and was affiliated with The Roanoker Restaurant’s sponsorship of teams for most of the summers since. In 1989, Guthrie received the first District 12 Little League Volunteer of the Year honor and has long been a familiar figure in the Cave Spring National League. Guthrie won numerous awards, but always said his biggest reward is “kids having fun.” He also has been involved with sports through his work with the Roanoke County Parks and Recreation Department.
George "Sandy" Hill
Hill, coached in sandlot ball by Hall of Fame inductee Junior Epperly, was a four-year letterman at Glenvar High School. He was the Roanoke Metro player of the year in 1973 and won a grant-in-aid to Virginia Tech, where he started in centerfield from 1974-77, including one that concluded with an NCAA berth. Hill still holds the school record for career outfield assists (17). Drafted after his junior (Milwaukee) and senior (Pittsburgh) years at Tech, Hill signed with the Pirates, playing two seasons of minor-league ball including the hometown Salem Pirates in ’78. Hill also was head coach at Salem High School for eight seasons, taking two teams to post-season tournament berths.
Walrond is one of the most outstanding Little League coaches and administrators in Roanoke Valley history. Among his contributions is the 1990 creation of the Little League Challenger program for handicapped participants. Walrond began coaching Beverly Heights in the late ’60s, and began that area’s Little League program for 9-12-year-olds in 1972, adding other programs a year later. Since 1978, Walrond was the District 12 Administrator for Little League, overseeing a region stretching from Roanoke to the Alleghany Highlands. Walrond also was president of several local sports foundations and recreation clubs and among the most visible Roanoke Valley residents who have made sure youth participate.
Womack’s induction came after his first full season in the major leagues (1997), a year in which the Pittsburgh second baseman led the National League in steals with 60 and was the lone Pirate in the All-Star Game. Womack had a team-record 32 steals without being caught. He also led the club in games, at-bats, runs, and hits. The Danville native starred at Gretna High and Guilford College before becoming the Pirates’ seventh-round selection in the 1991 draft. Womack was a key player for the Salem Buccaneers (Class A) in 1993, eventually finishing that year with a September callup to Pittsburgh, a meteoric climb in one season. Womack had been one of the more popular players with the fans.
One of the foremost volunteer caretakers of the national pastime in the Roanoke Valley, Mitchell began coaching Little League ball in 1955. Mitchell began playing the game on Roanoke sandlots in 1948, then played at Jackson Junior High School. He played American Legion baseball at age 18, while coaching a Little League team that same summer. After 5½ years in the Air Force, Mitchell returned to Roanoke. He coached Roanoke Kiwanis from 1963-68, then moved to Legion ball, winning a district title with his Post 3 team in 1974. He returned to Little League coaching from 1975-87, moving back to Legion ball in ’88. His teams won Blue Ridge District Legion titles from 1992-94.
As Ferrum College head coach, Naff compiled a 643-236-3 record, ranking among the top five active Division III coaches in winning percentage. Consistent success has been his hallmark. A Rocky Mount native and former Franklin County High School star catcher who returned to his roots and prospered, Naff has turned Ferrum into a premier program that has produced 22 professional players, led by standout reliever Billy Wagner. Naff is a two-time Dixie coach of the year, and a three-time state coach of the year. He has coached 17 All-America selections. A two-time All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference catcher at Lynchburg College, Naff led the Hornets to a national ranking.
“Pop” is one of the enduring figures in baseball history, spending six decades with the Boston Red Sox organization as a player, coach, instructor, and manager. His time in the organization includes 21 years as minor-league manager, including an 89-victory season in 1946 at Roanoke, winning the Piedmont League regular-season title. He was an all-star second baseman as well as manager of the year while with the RoSox. A Sayreville, NJ, native, Popowski coached third base for the 1967 American League pennant-winning Red Sox. Honored by the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA for contributions to the game, he played against Babe Ruth, was a teammate of Roy Campanella, and managed Carl Yastrzemski.
An outstanding Virginia Tech power hitter, Stubbs led NCAA Division I players in homers in 1981 (29). He finished one homer short of becoming the first 30-30 player in major college history. At induction, Stubbs ranked third on Tech’s single season steals list, with 34 in ’81. A native of Richmond County, NC, Stubbs was a two-time All-American, and after his junior season (1982) was the first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers. A Dodger from 1984-89, Stubbs won a World Series ring in ’88. He batted .294 in that Series. He was dealt to Houston in ’90, and completed his 10-year major-league career with Milwaukee and Detroit, and then became a minor-league coach and instructor.
A Lynchburg native and Roanoke resident, Wooldridge was an All-Mason-Dixon Conference baseball selection during each of his four seasons at Lynchburg College. He played on Rustburg’s state champion American Legion squad in the ’50s and played semipro ball in three Virginia leagues. He also played for Salem in the Appalachian League in 1957, in the Pittsburgh organization. Best known in the Roanoke Valley for his officiating work and as Old Dominion Athletic Conference commissioner, he officiated many sports for three decades. He was a basketball referee at the Montreal Olympics in 1976 and started the baseball program at William Fleming High School in 1957, winning two district titles.
Canale began his career with the Cave Spring National Little League Roanokers and the Cave Spring Dixie League. He then played for Cave Spring High School and American Legion Roanoke Post 3 South, before signing with Virginia Tech. In three Hokie seasons, he set a new career home run record, tied the single season record and set a new career RBI mark. Canale was a sixth-round 1986 Milwaukee draft choice, playing six years in the organization with two major league call-ups. In 1989, he led the American Association in games, triples, putouts, assists and fielding. From 1992-99 he played for Montreal, Cleveland, Colorado, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and leagues in Italy, Taiwan and Korea.
Johnston, a Salem native, was the last pitcher to win 20 games at Salem Municipal Field. He drew attention from pro teams while pitching in the service, where he was offered a tryout by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Johnston was named to the All-Marines and All-Pacific teams prior to his 1947 discharge. From 1948 to 1955 he pitched eight seasons, including stints with the Braves and Athletics organizations. In 1952 and 1953 he was 35-15 for Welch, West Virginia of the Appalachian League, an A’s affiliate. Johnston pitched for Salem in 1955 and posted a 20-4 record in the league before retiring. Johnston managed the Salem Municipal Golf Course for many years, where fans enjoyed his baseball stories.
Lemon graduated from Covington High School in 1947 and was a member of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company team. He advanced to an outstanding major league career as an outfielder and manager. In 12 years with three American League teams, Lemon was a career .262 hitter with 164 homers and 529 RBI. He had his best seasons with the Senators in 1958 and 1959, when he slammed 71 homers and drove in 100 runs each season. He managed the 1968 Senators, after serving as a coach with the Twins for seven years. He was out of baseball for 12 years before returning to the Minnesota organization in 1981, remaining a coach until his 1995 retirement. He spent a total of 36 years in professional baseball.
Tomlin pitched for the Salem Buccaneers in the Carolina League in his second year of professional baseball, posting a 12-6 record with a 3.25 earned run average. Tomlin was fourth in the Carolina League in victories, despite being called up to Harrisburg in the Eastern League where he won two more games. While at Salem, Tomlin pitched a no-hitter to defeat Kinston 1-0. In Pittsburgh, Tomlin led the 1991 Pirates in earned run average (2.98) and was eighth in the National League while going 8-7. He had back-to-back shutouts in July. In 1992, Tomlin was 14-9 with a 3.41 earned run average and a 22 consecutive scoreless-inning streak. He appeared in two National League championship series for the Pirates.
Craighead, a Vinton native, starred for several area Negro League teams after serving in the Army during World War II. Primarily an infielder, he was known for his combination of speed, power, and passion. He barnstormed with his own team, the Henry Craighead All-Stars. In 1953, Craighead signed with the Portsmouth Merrimacks, becoming one of the first blacks to play in the Class B Piedmont League. His career ended when he fractured his ankle while trying to steal home. After retiring, Craighead coached rec softball in Roanoke. A 40-year employee of Norfolk & Western, Craighead was a community activist known for his civic work. He was named the Citizen of the Year in 1992 by the Roanoke NAACP.
Delvis "Mac" McCadden
McCadden grew up a New York Giants’ fan in a Roanoke household that loved the Brooklyn Dodgers, so he was used to arguments by the time he became a successful pro umpire. McCadden graduated from umpiring school in 1973, and two weeks after getting his first assignment in the rookie Gulf Coast League, was promoted to the Carolina League. He worked two CL seasons, including games at Salem Municipal Field. He spent two years in the Class AA Eastern League before moving to the Class AAA International League. In 1978, he worked major league spring training, and later substituted in the majors. He umpired all-star games and championship series in every minor league he was assigned.
Elected 11 times from 1974-96 as the longest-serving mayor in the history of the City of Salem, Taliaferro’s contributions to local baseball are significant: namely, his determination to help the city keep minor league baseball and his push in the 1990s for construction of the Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium as a new home for the Carolina League franchise that has been located in Salem since the late ’60s. Taliaferro, an Army paratrooper veteran and lifelong Salem resident, played baseball as a teenager in the Virginia Amateur League in the early ’50s. He is a graduate of Andrew Lewis High School. Taliaferro, a commercial contractor since 1965, served on City Council or as Mayor from 1972-96.
A Roanoke Valley native, Walthall is recognized as one of the top local baseball teachers and coaches. He played high school baseball at Andrew Lewis in Salem, was a four-year infield starter at Mars Hill College and played for two state title fastpitch softball teams in Salem. Mostly, he is known for his coaching acumen. At his induction, Walthall, a physical education teacher for almost three decades at Mount Pleasant Elementary School, has a 279-92-7 record in 18 seasons as a high school head and assistant coach, mostly at William Byrd in Vinton. Walthall is a two-time Timesland Coach of the Year, and established Byrd’s perennially strong program over a decade as head coach (1983-92).
Whitson, a native of Johnson City, Tenn., was one of the most successful pitchers in Salem’s pro baseball history. In 1976, he went 15-9 with a 2.53 ERA for the Pirates. He led the Carolina League with 203 innings pitched and 186 strikeouts, both Salem franchise records. His 15 victories shared the league lead, on a team that finished 68-69, and was named a CL’s postseason all-star. The righthander then spent 15 seasons in the major leagues (1977-91), pitching for Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Cleveland, San Diego and the New York Yankees. His big-league record was 126-123, with a 3.79 ERA. He pitched for the Padres in the 1984 World Series and was on the 1980 National League All-Star Game squad as a Giant.
Credited for saving pro baseball in the Roanoke Valley with his purchase of the Salem franchise, Bowles was a longtime a pro baseball scout. The Franklin County resident played baseball as a youngster, and upon joining the Air Force, became a player-coach at the base level. In 1975, Bowles began his pro baseball career with the Major League Scouting Bureau. Later a scouting supervisor for Pittsburgh and Montreal, in 1992 Bowles joined the Florida Marlins as a Master Scout. In 1985, he purchased the Salem team, the Redbirds. His Buccaneers won the 1987 Carolina League title, and then the Avalanche gave Bowles a second title in 2001, capped by an improbable run from a lower berth.
Cundiff pitched for Roanoke’s Patrick Henry High School where he was All City-County in 1968. He pitched 78 1/3 innings and struck out 97 with an ERA of 1.07. He played American Legion Ball for Roanoke Post 3 his junior and senior years. He then went on to Virginia Tech, establishing school records for career shutouts (9) and lowest ERA for a starter (1.91). The Hokies right-hander career record was 18-5, and he permitted only 1.68 walks per nine innings in both 1972 and 1973. As a Hokie, Cundiff pitched 230 1/3 innings, allowing 181 hits and striking out 187, while walking only 51. As a freshman in 1970, Cundiff went 6-1 with a 1.62 ERA, defeating Clemson, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Fisher was a pitching ace in the Virginia Amateur League, and spent most more than 50 years coaching baseball as a high school assistant and Little League coach. Hailing from Craig County, Fisher starred at Maywood High School. He crafted an outstanding 54-4 record pitching for New Castle in the Virginia Amateur League. He signed a Boston Braves contract in 1952 and played for Manager Jack Crosswhite with the Welch Miners. During a 1953-55 Army stint, Fisher was offered a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. While working for General Electric in Salem, he played for the Appalachian League’s Salem Rebels in 1956, and then coached Virginia Foundry in the Virginia Mountain League.
LeGrande’s baseball history is highlighted as an outfield star in the major Negro Leagues. He was noticed by the Negro Leagues while playing semipro ball as a catcher with the Webster All-Stars of Blue Ridge when he was only 14. His Negro League debut came with the Memphis Red Sox in 1957. He moved to the Detroit Stars in 1958 and then the Kansas City Monarchs in 1959, leading league outfielders in assists for three consecutive seasons. He also batted .300 during that stretch. In 1960, LeGrande led the Class A Florida State League with a .304 batting average for the St. Petersburg Saints. LeGrande finished his career with the barnstorming Satchel Paige All-Stars in 1963.
Page, a Los Angeles native, was a 1973 Pittsburgh third-round draft pick. The rangy outfielder starred for the 1974 Salem Pirates in the Carolina League where he hit .296 with 17 homers, 75 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He played eight big-league seasons, the first seven with Oakland before returning to Pittsburgh in 1984. In 1977, Page was selected The Sporting News’ American League Rookie of the Year, batting .307 with 21 homers, 75 runs batted in and 42 steals for the A’s. Page, 50, at his induction, just finished his second season as the minor league hitting coordinator for St. Louis. He went to the Cardinals in 1998, as the hitting coach at Class AAA Memphis.
An inductee of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, Leo Patrick Burke Jr. lettered in baseball, football, and basketball while in Blacksburg. He was All Southern Conference in baseball three years (1953-55) and was named to the Southern Conference 75th Anniversary Award second team. Burke was signed as a free agent by Baltimore in 1957 and played major league ball with the O’s, Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, for whom he hit a career best .262 in 1964. As a minor leaguer with the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers he led the American Association in home runs. Burke is also a member of the Washington County (Maryland) Sports Hall of Fame and currently resides in Hagerstown.
Cregger started his long association with baseball in the Valley via the Roanoke Red Sox of the Piedmont League from 1942-53. He began by selling concessions, progressed to the assistant general manager’s position and wound up as general manager in 1953. After the RoSox folded, he finished with the Lynchburg Cardinals from ’54-’55. Cregger then pursued a career with Holdren’s, the appliance store chain, for the next 20 years. In 1975 he was named president of the Salem Pirates, who won two Carolina League pennants during his tenure. Cregger helped keep pro baseball on track in Salem when dwindling crowds placed its future in doubt, forfeiting his own paycheck to help keep the team afloat.
The Stamford, Connecticut, native pitched for the Salem Pirates in 1974, when he went 13-4 with a 4.10 ERA and was named lefthander of the year in the Carolina League. Doug Nelson was a New York Daily News high school All-Star in 1971-72 and went on to become a junior college All-American at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1973. Nelson played six seasons in the minors, all with the Pittsburgh farm system. He was promoted to the Pirates major league roster in 1976 and 1977. Nelson moved to Ohio after his playing career as a National Sales Manager for a food service company.
A 1990 graduate of Tazewell High School, Wagner became a star pitcher for Ferrum College. A power lefthander with a fastball in the mid-90s, he was a Houston Astros first-round pick (twelfth overall) in the 1993 draft. He quickly moved through the minor league system, making his Major League debut in 1995. In 1999 he won the Rolaids award presented to the outstanding closer in the National League (39 saves with a 1.57 ERA, 124 strikeouts in 74 innings). He again had 39 saves in 2001 and 35 saves in 2002. A seven-time All-Star, his fastball was timed in the 97-99 range and has several times reached 100 mph. Wagner retired in 2010 with 422 saves. He then began a career in high school coaching.
The baseball coach at Glenvar High School for more than 20 years, Wood led his team to the 1994 state Group A championship and a runner-up finish in 1993. He was state coach of the year in 1994 and coached in the Virginia High School All-Star game in ’93 and ’94. From 1990-99, Wood’s Glenvar teams won 150 games while losing just 51 and tying 2. He has also coached football, basketball, gymnastics, track and wrestling during his teaching career of 30-plus years. Wood attended E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, then went on to Carson-Newman College and Radford University, where he received a master’s degree in supervision and administration.
A fixture on the local amateur baseball scene for many years, Tom Berry played baseball and basketball at old Montvale High School before moving on to Ferrum College. He was a catcher at Ferrum and several other schools; he then played semi-pro ball (Virginia Mountain, Virginia Amateur League) from 1951-1961. Berry later coached American Legion (Post 3) Baseball for 15 years, taking his 1962 squad to the state finals. A football and basketball game official for four decades, Berry was also the Supervisor of Women’s Basketball Officials in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for 15 years. Retired from Shenandoah Life Insurance Company, he volunteered for athletic activities in the area.
The most colorful manager ever to don a Salem uniform, Everett Lamar “Rocky” Bridges led the 1989 Salem Buccaneers team to 63 wins, keeping everyone in stitches with his down-home humor and anecdotes. Bridges had an 11-year playing career, beginning with the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers in the year of Bobby Thomson’s famous home run. Bridges also played for Cincinnati, Washington, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis and the Los Angeles Angels. A .247 career hitter, Bridges nonetheless was an ardent student of the game and forged a successful career as a Major League coach and Minor League manager.
A former minor league baseball player, Fielder also played pro ball in Japan, Korea and countries. Team captain and shortstop for the 1947-48 Roanoke City Park League champions, Fielder played at Jackson Junior High, Jefferson High School and in semi-pro leagues locally. Fielder enjoyed a long career as a minor league, college, high school and amateur league umpire (1959-1996). Saluted for 25 years of distinguished service as a high school game official, he was awarded a Certificate of Merit for outstanding service several times by the Virginia High School League. A retired Franklin County Parks and Rec Director, Fielder helped organize a Dixie Youth baseball program, and helped design a Dixie League park.
Bob Teitlebaum has had his finger on the pulse of baseball in the Roanoke Valley. A Vanderbilt graduate, Bob joined the Roanoke World-News in 1970, covering the minor league baseball beat for 17 years, including three Salem championship seasons. He also served as official scorer for the team from 1971-1974, then again after his newspaper retirement in 2000. He also covered collegiate baseball, including some of Virginia Tech’s best teams, and attended many high school games when he served as the prep editor for The Roanoke Times. As baseball writer, Bob wrote many features on professional athletes and covered two World Series. Bob was a charter member of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Born in Pennsylvania, Brian Hoffman came south to attend Roanoke College. Hoffman cut his teeth working as sports editor for the school paper and was a member of the sports information department. After graduation in 1974, he joined the staff of the Salem Times-Register, where he is now the sports editor, covering local high school, college and professional teams. Hoffman was also official scorer for various Carolina League teams in Salem from 1975-2000. A major advocate of bringing baseball back to Roanoke College as a varsity sport, Hoffman was a charter member of the Hall of Fame board of directors and has served on the nominating committee. He remains a loyal Philadelphia sports fan.
Bob Johnson was the last surviving member of the Salem Athletic Club board of directors, which operated professional teams for more than two decades. Added to the board in 1952 when the Salem Rebels (Appalachian League) were created, Johnson wound up as president of the Carolina League’s Salem Pirates in 1979, when he helped oversee the franchise’s sale to Larry Schmittou. On his watch, future major league players including Dave Parker, Bruce Kison, Al Holland, Ed Ott and dozens of others passed through Salem. After leaving the game officially, Bob Johnson was a loyal Salem fan and season ticket holder.
Milward "Mel" Quinn
A native of Braintree, Mass., Mel Quinn joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and wound up on a military baseball team in 1945. He went on to sign with the Boston Red Sox organization and spent time with the Roanoke Red Sox, where he played with a pennant-winning Piedmont League team in 1946. After playing more seasons of minor league in the Southeast and in Canada, Quinn retired in 1951. While enjoying a career in several industries, he pursued a lifetime of amateur baseball: Quinn was player-manager for the Waynesboro Generals (1953-54) of the Valley League and he later co-founded the Tuckahoe Little League in Richmond. He coached Cave Spring Little League after returning to Roanoke in 1983.
A member of the National League All-Star team in 2002 as a Pittsburgh Pirate, Mike Williams racked up 46 saves as a closer that season. He is now retired and has returned to the New River Valley, where he was raised. Williams was a standout multi-sport athlete at Giles High School and went on to attend Virginia Tech. Selected in the 14th round of the 1990 free agent draft, he made his major league debut in 1992. Williams pitched for Philadelphia and Kansas City before signing as a free agent with Pittsburgh in 1998. Traded to the Houston Astros in 2001, he returned to the Pirates before his memorable All-Star season when he broke the all-time team record for saves.
A tireless promoter and successful amateur baseball coach in the Roanoke Valley since 1973, Sid Witt had a trophy case full of Little League state championships (four) along with numerous divisional, regional, and district titles. In 1978 he took his club to a third-place finish in the national Little League World Series. Witt shifted gears in 1989 and helped create the Challenger division of Little League baseball for players with mental and physical issues that leave them unable to compete in regular baseball or softball games. As a coach in the Challenger division, Witt took his teams to major national tournaments for over 10 years. With his help, the local Challenger program grew from one to five teams.
Murray began his career in baseball in 1973 at Salem Municipal Field, not far from his home. In 1974 he became assistant groundskeeper and in 1975 he was given the title of head groundskeeper. He worked for Salem Municipal for parts of seven years and assisted in the design of the new playing field that was installed at Salem Memorial in 1993. After 32 years in the sports industry, he has become world renowned in the design and management of baseball fields. As major league baseball’s field consultant, he has provided baseball field renovations for professional and Olympic baseball events in more than 20 countries. Murray is president of Sports Turf Services and resides in the Cave Spring area.
McCoy, a Virginia Beach native, played for Virginia Tech. He started all 168 games during his three seasons with the Hokies; he played mostly in left field but also saw starting time at third base, first base, designated hitter and even a game behind the plate. He set a Tech record for highest batting average over a three-year career with a .374 mark. He holds the school record for career slugging percentage at .835, ranks second at Tech in career home runs (69) and career runs batted in (214) and won first-team all-Metro Conference honors all three years. He decided to pass up his senior year at Tech to sign with the Rangers in the summer of 1988; he was one of their top young players for two seasons.
Eric, a Danville native, attended Ferrum College before he was drafted by the Reds in the fourth round (101st overall) of the 1992 draft. A three-time minor league all-star, Eric was Most Valuable Player of the Triple-A American Association in 1995, after batting .314 with 12 home runs, 63 RBI and 33 stolen bases for Indianapolis. Eric also was the Division III National Player of the year in 1992. He enjoyed a nine-year career in the major leagues with the Reds, Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Angels and also spent time with the Mariners and Tigers organizations before retiring following the 2004 season. While playing at Ferrum, he was a two-time first-team All-American.
Webb is a Bluefield, W. Va., native, participated in two summers of American Legion baseball. He attended Morehead State College in 1943-44 where he played basketball and baseball. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August of 1944. After basic training and six months as a gunman on a transport ship, Webb was sent to Camp Shelton in Norfolk. He made both the basketball and baseball teams. In 1947, the St. Louis Cardinals invited him to a baseball camp in Lynchburg for five weeks. Webb went to spring training in 1948, and played in Tallahassee, Albany, Winston-Salem, Lynchburg and Columbus. During the years 1951- 55, he played in the Virginia Mountain League and Virginia Amateur League.
Cave Spring’s “Mr. Baseball” is a longtime supporter of youth baseball in Southwest Roanoke County. Wally built a sterling resume: Little League coach and administrator, and Cave Spring High School Booster Club member during several drives to improve the baseball facilities. Knights Field at Cave Spring High School now features a press box, restroom and concession stand made possible by Booster Club efforts. Beagle has been the longtime coordinator of the Commonwealth Games baseball competition that brings four all-star high school squads to the Roanoke Valley each summer. Beagle stays involved with Cave Spring High School athletics as timekeeper at basketball and football home games.
Charlie Hammersley grew up hanging around Salem Municipal Field and the old recreation office nearby. The 1970 Andrew Lewis High School graduate earned All-State and All City-County honors in football and basketball, All-City-County in baseball. He played college baseball and football at Ferrum; in the summer he played in the Virginia Amateur and Piedmont baseball leagues. Hammersley enjoyed a long career with Salem Parks and Rec, retiring as director in 2006. He spearheaded development of the Moyer Sports Complex, which hosts tournaments at every level, from national on down. Hammersley helped establish the Chance Crawford Fund, which have provided scholarships and community programs.
Ken Macha played with the 1972 Carolina League champion Salem Pirates, the start of a successful career both on and off the field. Macha was drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1972. He spent parts of six seasons in the majors with the Pirates, Montreal and Toronto. The Pennsylvania native was a utility infielder/outfielder/catcher, playing in a total of 162 games. He then spent four years playing in Japan and went on to coach for the Expos and California Angels, and then managed in the Boston Red Sox farm system. He took over for Art Howe as Oakland A’s manager in 2003 and won an American League Western Division title. Macha led the team to the AL Championship series in 2006.
Elbert Powell was a fixture in Franklin County youth league baseball programs for 40-plus years. He organized Dixie Youth and Dixie Boys teams, helped launch the Dixie League, and was a president of the organization. Powell, who believed lessons learned on the field can be applied later in life, also coached Connie Mack baseball and assisted in coaching American Legion ball. He was president of the Henry Community Club in 1971 when a baseball diamond was built in the area. The president of Franklin County Baseball, Inc., Powell believed the close working relationship between amateur baseball and local government has helped the sport thrive.
Garland Berry was a standout baseball player in college and later coached for many years at Cave Spring High School. After playing baseball and football at Ferrum, he went on to Lynchburg College, earning Mason-Dixon All Conference honors in 1964, hitting .365 with 20 stolen bases. The 1962 team he was a part of captured a state amateur title and represented the Commonwealth at the National Baseball Congress Tournament in Wichita, Kansas. As the head coach at Cave Spring, Garland’s Knights captured seven district titles in 17 years. The longtime high school and college football official started out umpiring baseball games. Berry was also a basketball coach at Cave Spring and Roanoke College.
Tim Callahan played baseball for Jefferson High School, American Legion Post 3 and the Virginia Amateur League Lakeside team, which won a championship in 1973. He is best known however for an umpiring career that began in 1970. As an associate high school commissioner, Callahan trains and schedules umpires. He has also been a crew chief for Virginia High School League finals at the A, AA, and AAA levels. He has umpired every year at the Commonwealth Games and has been the officials coordinator since 1995. Callahan has also been a coordinator for AAU tournaments and umpired numerous district, regional, state and American Legion baseball games.
Darren Hodges replaced another Hall of Fame member last year at his alma mater, succeeding Abe Naff as head baseball coach at Ferrum College. Before that, he was a first-team All-District pitcher at Franklin County High School. After beginning his college career at Carson-Newman, Hodges transferred to Ferrum in 1989 becoming an All-Dixie Conference pitcher. In 1990, he was a 10th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees and spent five seasons with that organization. Hodges came back to Ferrum in 1999 as pitching coach. Named the associate head coach in 2005 after helping Ferrum win a number of league titles, Hodges officially took the reins from Naff in May of 2007.
Nelson Metheney played baseball for two decades, beginning on the Salem sandlots. After graduating from Salem High School, he pitched at Clinch Valley College – now University of Virginia-Wise –where he won 57 games during his career. In 1993, Metheney was an All-Conference pitcher and led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in strikeouts per nine innings, with a commanding ratio of 13-plus per each complete game. Taken in the ninth round of the 1993 amateur draft, Metheney led the Florida State League in appearances with 59 in 1995 and progressed to the Double-A level in the Philadelphia Phillies organization before retiring from the game and coming home to Salem.
A longtime fixture in North Roanoke, Bobby Ragland coached baseball and other sports in that area for many years. At age 15, he began playing baseball in the Virginia Amateur League and was later named to a handful of all-star teams. In 1951, Ragland began coaching baseball, first in Villa Heights, then for the Williamson Road Recreation Club and finally for the North Roanoke County Recreation Club, where he has mentored young players on several dozen teams since 1970. He also coached basketball and football for many years. In 2006, Northside High School presented Ragland with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to youth and community and dedication to the North Roanoke Recreation Club.
Dee Dalton made his mark at Cave Spring High School before moving on to Virginia Tech and a minor league career. Dalton was selected three times for the Roanoke Valley All-District first team before graduating from CSHS in 1991. He was voted the district’s most valuable player twice and was a Virginia High School League All-Star in ’90 and ’91. Dalton was an All-State Group AAA player those two years. Drafted out of high school by the California Angels, he chose instead to attend Virginia Tech. Three years later, after being voted third-team All-American for his play, Dalton was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 15th round. He spent five years in the Cardinals farm system, advancing as high as Double-A.
Jerry Ellis spent decades dedicated to youth baseball in Southwest Roanoke County. After relocating here, the Cincinnati native was an assistant coach, then head coach with the Roanokers minor league team for eight years. For the many years, Ellis was the head coach of the Roanokers Little League team. A strong believer in teaching fundamentals, whether for his own team or as part of one of the youth clinics he has helped organize, Ellis also stresses sportsmanship and a team-first attitude. His distinguished amateur career includes time as Director of Coaches and All-Star Director. Ellis was an early advocate of monitoring pitch counts, rather than innings pitched, something that is now a Little League requirement.
Think of sports in Salem and Carey Harveycutter is often the first name mentioned. As Director of Civic Facilities, the lifelong city resident oversaw the Civic Center, football stadium and Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium. At 12, he went to work at what is now Kiwanis Field, cleaning off seats, stuffing bingo cards in baseball programs and rolling out the tarp. Later, he operated the scoreboard for many years. Harveycutter was tournament director for NCAA Division III championship events that have become a city signature. Salem has hosted seven NCAA and ACC baseball championships. He also served at various DI baseball tournament sites around the country as the liaison between host facilities and the NCAA.
A relative latecomer to the game, Bruce Spencer lettered in three sports at William Byrd High School in Roanoke County – and none of them was baseball. It was only when he started coaching 11- and 12-year-olds after high school that his passion for the game developed. A longtime Dixie League coach with almost three decades under his belt, Spencer is known for teaching fundamentals, discipline and sportsmanship. An East Tennessee State University graduate and a teacher at Northside High School, Spencer has coached baseball and football at the high school level. His Vinton-based Dixie League teams won three state championships between 1992 and 1996 and have been runners-up four times.
Rick Carr is a Jefferson High School graduate who has coached recreation league baseball for many years. He first played for Williamson Road recreation league squads and the Roanoke Valley Kiwanis Club. He has won championships at the T-Ball, minor, major and junior league levels in more than 40 years. Carr’s postseason all-star clubs have won a number of district and sub-district titles, finishing as high as second statewide. He was also an AAU head coach for two stints, when his teams were ranked #1 in the state and #7 in the country (2006). Carr has simple player rules, besides stressing fundamentals: be on time, work hard, be a good sport – and always have your hat on straight, with shirttail in.
“Gilley,” as he is known, won over 1,000 games as the head coach at Coastal Carolina University – also his alma mater. The Rocky Mount native helped guide the Chanticleers to an NCAA National Championship in 2016. On the diamond he was the Roanoke Metro Player of the Year and first-team all-state in 1976, playing for Franklin County High School. Gilmore was an NAIA All-American in 1979 for the Chanticleers and following a brief professional stint with the Phillies organization, began his coaching career. He led South Carolina-Aiken to two NCAA Division II World Series in six years before moving on to Coastal Carolina.
The Salem resident played on district championship teams for both Glenvar and Salem high schools. Wells was named All-State and All-Metro in 1978, Salem claiming Group AAA Roanoke Valley District and Metro titles. Wells earned a record 11 wins pitching for the Roanoke Post 3 West team that season; Post 3 won the ’78 American Legion district title. Wells received a Longwood College scholarship, pitching for the nationally ranked team. Later head coach at Shawsville/Eastern Montgomery and Glenvar high schools for 24 seasons, Wells was a six-time Coach of the Year. His teams qualified for 10 regional tournaments and two state tourneys; he won four district championships and two regional titles.
A fixture at many local sporting events as a spectator, Williams, the former CEO of Member One Credit Union, was a booster of baseball and other games. During his long tenure with Member One, the financial institution was a sponsor of high school and Little League sports. At Jefferson High School, he lettered in baseball and basketball, before attending the University of Houston. Williams later coached Little League baseball in Lynchburg and with the Cave Spring American League and played adult league ball for a half-dozen seasons. Past President of the Roanoke Valley Sports Club, he was also a lontime contributor to the sports monthly Play by Play.
Known as “Skeeter” during his playing days at William Byrd High School and in the Virginia Amateur League, Amos began a five-decade coaching career in 1978. He has coached various levels: recreation league, middle school, high school, AAU and American Legion. He established the first AAU baseball team in Vinton and the first 10-under team in the Roanoke Valley. He served on the Virginia AAU state board and was a delegate at national conventions. Amos directed local AAU tournaments and a number of National AAU baseball championships in Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, and the first national baseball tournament championship held in the Roanoke Valley in 2005.
The Franklin County native was a standout infielder and pitcher in the Dixie Youth League, hurling numerous no-hitters. Selected for Martinsville’s Connie Mack league team, Brown helped that club win a state championship and go on to the World Series. Brown was team MVP for Franklin County High School in 1976; in ’77 he led the Eagles to a district championship and a berth in the state title game. Brown pitched for Chipola College in Florida, and then was 11-5 in two years as a starter at Southern Illinois University. He helped the Salukis win a Missouri Valley Conference title in 1981, when SIU made the NCAA playoffs. Drafted by Oakland and Milwaukee, Brown chose to come home for the family business.
Ervin "Budgie" Clark
Ervin “Budgie” Clark, Jr. spent his youth as a baseball star and his adult days keeping diamonds in tip-top shape. A four-year starter for Glenvar and Salem high schools in the late ’70s and early ’80s, he was a district batting champion, first-team All-Metro and first-team All-Valley. Clark played three years for Virginia Tech, where he was Honorable Mention All-Metro Conference, All-State in Virginia and Honorable Mention All-NCAA. Clark played one season at Elon, helping lead that school to the NAIA College World Series. Clark then turned his attention to the baseball field itself, consulting on 40 stadiums around the world. Clark has been a field consultant for Olympic programs – Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
A radio sports broadcaster after graduating from SUNY-Oswego, the upstate New York native began his baseball administrative career with Elmira in the New York-Penn League in 1983. In 1984 he was the circuit’s Executive of the Year. Relocating to Salem in 1986, Lazzaro was VP and general manager of Salem’s baseball franchise through 1996, and Carolina League Executive of the Year in 1989. The teams Lazzaro oversaw in Salem and New York set numerous franchise attendance records. Over the years Lazzaro was also involved with minor league hockey and served as a speedway track announcer. Lazzaro authored a book, “More Than a Ballgame: An Inside Look at Minor League Baseball.”
Christiansburg native Art Price wants to make his hometown the youth baseball capital of southwestern Virginia, a goal he has been working towards for decades. A multi-sport athlete in high school, Price played baseball at Concord University in West Virginia before finishing college at Radford. The Director of Parks and Recreation for Christiansburg since 1987, Price spent much of that time upgrading and designing public recreation facilities. Christiansburg has hosted the Dixie League World Series at Harkrader Sports Complex and Kiwanis Park, also the venues for the district, regional and state baseball and softball tournaments. Price was also a scout for the Kansas City Royals.
Dave Christianson hails from Chicago, where he was an All-State pitcher and first baseman. In the Chicago City championship game, he hit a 475-foot grand slam at Comiskey Park. Later that summer, Dave hit a home run estimated at over 500 feet while playing for the Connie Mack World Series Champions. Drafted in the fourth round by the San Diego Padres in 1980, Dave spent three seasons in the Padres farm system, one being here in Salem in 1982. Dave began a new career in sales in 1984 at Shelor Chevrolet and began coaching many local players, including his sons David and Jared. He became head coach of the Salem Post 3 American Legion team in 1997 and opened Rip City Baseball Training Center.
Several people have been mainstays over the years in regard to the thriving Little League baseball program in Southwest Roanoke County. One is Fred Corbett. The Cave Spring resident has been a player, coach, manager, umpire and administrator. A member of the Cave Spring National Little League’s Board of Directors from 1983, Corbett was president from 1991-1997, and again 1999-2005. In 2005, Corbett became the administrator for Little League’s District 12, serving as a liaison between local Little League programs and International Headquarters in Williamsport. A member of the Virginia State Little League Association, Corbett believes every child should have the opportunity to play recreational sports.
Despite attending a high school that did not offer a baseball program at the time, Ron Shockley became a standout Virginia Tech pitcher in the late ’60s. While at Northside, Shockley was an All-State American Legion pitcher for fellow Hall-of-Famer Harry Bushkar. Walking on at Tech, Shockley helped lead the Hokies to an NCAA postseason appearance in 1969, compiling a 7-1 record with a 1.62 ERA. Shockley later pitched for Greensboro and Roanoke teams in the Piedmont League, winning a Virginia Amateur State championship and a trip to the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita. He later coached sports at Roanoke City middle schools before moving to Jacksonville, Florida.
A standout pitcher at William Byrd High School, Sweeney was All-District, All-Metro, All-Timesland and then All-State as a senior. Sweeney earned a University of Richmond scholarship; he posted a 17-11 record over four years there. After college, Sweeney attended a pro tryout held at Virginia Tech by the Cleveland Indians, and was the only player offered a contract. Following stints in the New York-Penn, South Atlantic, and Carolina leagues, where Manny Ramirez was a teammate, shoulder problems forced him to retire. Married with three young daughters at home and a demanding career, there’s not much time now to watch sports, but Sweeney is still partial to the Cleveland Indians.
Chad Kropff played four years of Salem High School, one time holding the school record for single-game strikeouts, 15. His first baseball job was cleaning the stands and helping with the field for the Salem Redbirds. In 1988, he joined the grounds crew for the Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves spring training site in West Palm Beach, then later joined the crew for Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. In 2002, Chad returned home as the sports field maintenance supervisor with the City of Roanoke’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Chad assisted with the Botetourt Sports Complex opening and is CEO/co-founder of Bulldog Field Equipment.
Once described as Roanoke’s most knowledgeable baseball aficionado, John Rocovich was a founding member of the Hall of Fame. A lifelong baseball fan, Rocovich long provided support for teams from the Dixie Youth League up through the college ranks. Long active in community and civic affairs, Rocovich has chaired numerous boards including Virginia Tech, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Center, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Roanoke Rescue Mission, and the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, while never missing the opportunity to promote baseball. He has practiced law in Roanoke for over 50 years.
Tim Semones graduated in 1974 from William Byrd High School, where he was named Terriers MVP his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He garnered several all-district and all-metro honors while at Byrd. He played American Legion baseball for Post 3 from 1971-1974. Tim then moved on to JMU, where he was a pitcher and outfielder for the Dukes 1975-1978. Semones won over 20 games as a southpaw pitcher, a difficult feat compounded by the limited number of games played each season. Tim played one year in the California League (class A+) for the Bakersfield Outlaws in 1979 after signing as a free agent. He came back to JMU as a baseball graduate assistant coach in 1980 and 1981.
A Hillsville native, Jim earned 11 varsity letters as a three-sport standout at Hillsville and Carroll County high schools. He learned his baseball from coaches Martin Dowdy and Bill Worrell. He also worked two summers as the public address announcer and official scorekeeper for the Wytheville Braves of the Appalachian League. Head varsity baseball coach at Blacksburg High School for decades, Jim has guided teams to over 200 wins. Former players include a Bellamy Award winner, two district POYs, and four VHSCA All Star Game participants. Jim and his wife, Carolyn, have two sons, Greg and Kevin, who both played three sports for their dad. Jim also coached football at Blacksburg High School.
Scott credits his father and his coaches for instilling in him a love of sports, particularly baseball. Raised in Glenvar, he excelled early in infield play. At Glenvar High School, Atkins was named first-team All Blue Ridge District four years. His senior year, he was voted first-team All-Metro at shortstop and helped lead Glenvar to a berth in the 1974 state title game. Earning a Virginia Tech scholarship, Scott started four years and was a team captain his senior year. For several years, Atkins held school records for at-bats in a season (174), hits in a season (53), hits in a game (5) and assists in a game by a second baseman (9). Atkins taught in Salem schools, coaching multiple sports. From 1991-95, he was Salem’s baseball coach.
In a baseball career that spanned nearly 60 years (1901-1956), Raymond Joseph “Ray” Ryan Sr. (1883-1958) was a significant minor league player, manager and owner. Featured in the famous T206 baseball card set as a member of the Roanoke Tigers, he caught all but two games for the 1909 pennant winners. He managed the 1915 Virginia pennant-winning Rocky Mount Carolinians. In all, he was associated with 41 teams in various roles. Ryan’s lasting baseball legacy was as founder-president of the Appalachian “Appy” and Mountain State Leagues. He also organized the Virginia League in 1939 and later brought professional baseball back to the Roanoke Valley by organizing a team in Salem.
A Bedford County native, Jim Thacker was the leftfielder on the Liberty High School state championship team in 1977 and also played the same position at Longwood College in 1980 and 1981. Jim spent 28 years as the head baseball coach at Jefferson Forest High School, where he compiled an overall record of 424-205, retiring at the end of the 2013 season. The school honored Jim by renaming the Cavaliers baseball diamond “Thacker Field.” During his tenure, his teams won 12 Seminole district titles as well as seven district tournament titles. His teams also won three regional titles, finished once as state runner-up, and won the state AA championship in 1988.
Sid Witt II
Sid Witt II, Salem born, was very active in all sports, but his true dedication to baseball didn’t begin until after graduation. In 1989, at 20, he cofounded the first Challenger Little League Baseball program for this area. This new division of baseball created the opportunity for mentally and/or physically handicapped children to participate and experience the rewards of being part of an athletic team, regardless of their ability. From 1989–2004, though without the title, Sid continued coaching Challenger teams and organizing the league and fundraising. In 2004, he accepted the official title of Administrator for the district which includes 12 cities and counties. He is known for his selflessness and desire to help others.
A 1993 Northside graduate, Dampeer was a four-year starter and voted Blue Ridge District All Conference each year. The 1993 Bellamy Award winner earned a scholarship to Radford. Also a four-year starter there, Dampeer was named Big South All Conference each season. Selected as a Freshman All-American, he was the DI Virginia Baseball Player of the year as a sophomore, when he broke the school’s single-season home run record. Kelly was named All-Decade Big South Conference. In 1997, he was a Cleveland draft pick and played three seasons in their organization. Following his career, Dampeer’s positions have included the first baseball coach at Roanoke College and Northside staff member.
Born in 1933, the seventh of 10 children, Cecil Doss volunteered tirelessly for many youth programs. Cecil coached baseball and football from 1956-1969 in the Garden City youth leagues, winning multiple championships. Cecil coached American Legion Post 3 Baseball from 1969-1977 and served as American Legion Post 3 Commander with four terms from 1978 until 2014. Cecil’s playing career dates to 1948 at Jackson Junior High, followed by stints in the Virginia Amateur League and the Twilight League. Cecil continued to play baseball within the U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet League 1952-1954. He was instrumental in establishing a baseball field for the Garden City Youth baseball teams in 1970.
Minton’s dad was in the military, so Ben literally played sports throughout the world. His passion and major contribution to baseball has been as an umpire. Minton began umpiring high school and American Legion in 1973. He umpired on the high school, AAU, USSSA, college Division I and Division III levels as well as being a backup umpire in the Appalachian League. Ben has been the crew chief for American Legion State tournament games as well as the crew chief of the Virginia High School League State Championships. He has umpired many years of the Commonwealth Games and been umpire coordinator for the Collegiate League since. Ben was a high school, AAU, and rec basketball official.
Gary earned 11 letters in three sports at Covington High School, graduating in 1963. He also played baseball for Covington American Legion Post 4 and at Ferrum Junior College. Gary’s longtime high school coaching career was spent at Alleghany. He also coached Post 4 American Legion from 1969-1972 and spent 23 years as a high school football coach. Gary is known as a fierce competitor, stressing fundamentals and sportsmanship. His teams also played in the state tournament six years, finishing second in 2008. He has coached in the VHSCA All Star game twice and has been the Timesland Coach of the Year. Gary has coached numerous players who played college and professional baseball.
Bob was a standout right-hander for Franklin County and Ferrum College. His talents were evident at an early age as he excelled throughout Dixie Youth, Pony, Connie Mack, and American Legion play. His career highlights include throwing a no-hitter in the 1979 Dixie Youth State Tournament and three no-hitters in Pony league, one of which was a perfect game. In high school, he posted a career 18-10 record with 241 strikeouts and a 2.46 ERA. He was 6-2 with 80 strikeouts and a 1.78 ERA as a senior. Bob had a solid career at Ferrum College, where he posted a 10-6 record, his 93 strikeouts setting the single season strikeout record. As a professional, he was 6-4 for the Davenport (Iowa) Indians.
A Salem High and Virginia Tech graduate, Gresh founded the Blacksburg Baseball Association in 1999. Starting with one team, he franchised with Dixie Youth Baseball and expanded to where the BBA currently has more than 15 teams. The state champion teams represented Virginia in the Dixie Youth World Series in 2007 (finishing fifth) and 2011. In 2002, Gresh started the Middle School Club Team. Gresh has raised significant monies for many of Blacksburg High School baseball program’s needs, including completely rebuilding the field. In 2012, Gresh was elected as Dixie Youth District 3 Director. Gresh has stayed heavily involved at the high school level, but his primary passion is the youth league.
Herman, a 1992 William Byrd and 1998 Virginia Tech graduate, was well known as a competitor and leader with a boisterous personality. He was the first recipient of the Ray Bellamy Award, was selected to play in the 1992 VHSCA All-Star game, and was named Timesland Player of the Year. Continuing his standout career, he helped the Hokies capture championships in the Metro and Atlantic 10. In 1995, he led the Hokies in batting (.346 average). In 1996, he was named to the All-State University Team. He signed as a free agent with the Frontier League’s Ohio Valley Redcoats. Over three minor league seasons, Herman batted .339, striking out 29 times in 613 plate appearances, earning All-Star honors in 1997.
Marion "Bo" Trumbo
A native Virginian, “Bo” Trumbo is the son of educators. He graduated from Covington High School, Bridgewater College, and Western Carolina University. At Bridgewater, the left-handed pitcher lettered four years, and was team captain as a senior. At the time of his induction, he held four pitching records, including ERA for one year (1.02) and career (1.65). Bo’s professional scouting career began in 1976 as a “birddog” scout for the New York Mets. He has scouted for Boston, Texas, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Seattle, and the Major League Scouting Bureau. As a fulltime scout with the Reds, he signed 27 players, three reaching the majors. Bo encouraged students and players to be their best on and off the field.
Williams grew up in Giles County and graduated from Pembroke High School. He continued his education at Hiwassee Junior College, where he played baseball and basketball. Tom was the leading hitter and team MVP playing for the 1957 Pembroke team in the Virginia Amateur League. He signed a contract with the San Francisco Giants in 1958, playing in the Midwest League. Tom studied at East Tennessee State University 1958-1960. He then became an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds from 1964-1969. Williams was a much-heralded fast-pitch softball player in Salem for 15 years. Later he became a player/coach leading the Oak Hall Caps to ninth place in the National Fast Pitch Softball Tournament.
A 1994 Glenvar High School graduate, Anderson was 35-5 in his four years of high school baseball, striking out 550 in 300 innings and posting a 0.98 career ERA. He was selected to the Virginia All State team each year, named the Group A State Player of The Year his senior season and selected to the USA Today All-American Team. He was chosen as the Timesland Player of the Year his senior season and won the 1994 Ray Bellamy Award. He tossed four one-hit games and one no-hitter at Radford. He struck out more than 100 batters in each of his last two years at RU. The Oakland Athletics selected Anderson in the fourth round of the 1997 MLB draft. He was named to the California League All-Star team in 1998.
Beagle made his mark as a left-handed pitcher at Cave Spring before moving to college ranks at Dundalk Community College and South Carolina-Aiken. He played professionally in the minors for the Florida Marlins. At Cave Spring Beagle was named Timesland Player of the Year and made the Group AAA All-State Team as a senior, graduating in 1989. At USC-Aiken he led NCAA Division II in strikeouts per nine innings at 12.1 in 1994. Beagle also played in the Shenandoah Valley League and the prestigious Cape Cod League where he excelled as a member of the Chatham A’s. Beagle has volunteered with the Virginia Commonwealth All-Star Baseball Games for many years with his father Wally and brother Mark.
Bolding grew up in Hardy and played at Staunton River High School, in the Virginia Amateur League, at Carson-Newman College and for the Elizabethton Twins. Bolding coached Staunton River to a championship before moving on to build a Division II College powerhouse at Longwood, taking it from NCAA D-III to D-II to D-I. His 1978 charter member recruiting class included a stable of Roanoke Valley hardball talent, the nucleus of his 1982 College World Series team. Longwood named its baseball facility the Charles “Buddy” Bolding Stadium in 2009; his players donated $130,000 to establish a scholarship in his name. Bolding’s college coaching record was 953-544-2.
A Pennsylvania native, Scott was a three-sport athlete at Athens High School. He is an Allegheny College graduate, where he was the opening day starter for four years. As a senior, he led the program to a school-record 29 wins and its first NCAA tournament berth. Smith began his 30-year coaching career at the University of Rochester. After moving to Pittsburgh, Smith coached four years at California (Pa.) University and Carnegie Mellon University, both of which established school-record seasons for wins. Smith moved to Roanoke in 1998 and coached every age level. His Roanoke Badgers travel team won two Virginia state titles. He managed the Roanoke Post 3 Senior American Legion team for years.
Working in the Chicago Cubs organization, including their 2016 World Championship that broke a 108-year drought, Bobby Basham is Director of Special Projects/Assistant Director of Player Development. The 1998 Franklin County graduate was named Timesland player of the year and won the Ray Bellamy Award, going 8-0 with a 0.77 ERA for the Roanoke Valley District champs. Basham played for the University of Richmond and also in the Cape Cod Baseball league. He was drafted by Cincinnati in 2001 and played seven minor-league seasons with the Reds and San Diego. At the height of his career, he was rated the 69th-best prospect in baseball, second-best in the Reds organization.
David Hagan had a love for baseball from a young age. He was a first-team all-district catcher for Shawsville High School before joining the Air Force in 1976. As a successful businessman, Hagan has sponsored many local teams and in 2007 donated Motor Mile Park to Montgomery County for the purpose of youth baseball. In 2014, he purchased historic Calfee Park and negotiated a contract with the New York Yankees to bring the franchise to Pulaski. Hagan rehabilitated the crumbling facility into a nationally recognized ballpark. With the goals of setting attendance records and enhancing the fan experience, Hagan is perceived as an outstanding operator in the Appalachian League and throughout Minor League Baseball.
Jon Hartness was a pitcher for Virginia Tech from 1983-1987 finishing his collegiate career 14-8 with nine saves. Mainly a reliever, he held the record for most appearances in one season at 29 recorded in 1987. As a sophomore in 1985, in one of his only two starts as a pitcher, he recorded the first nine-inning no-hitter in school history. Hartness returned to Tech in the fall of 1989 to become a coach. Over his years of coaching, he served roles from hitting/outfielders coach to his passion, pitching coach. He helped develop All-Americans, first-round draft picks and others drafted by Major League teams. A Richmond native, Hartness has been athletic director at Cave Spring High School.
Roanoke native Doug Heptinstall was a three-sport athlete at Stonewall Jackson Junior High and graduated from William Byrd High School. Doug began coaching in 1976 in the Cave Spring National Little League and coached all ages in the program for 20 years. Doug coached with Hall-of-Famer Bob Guthrie during much of that time and won a 13-year-old team state championship in 1984. Doug has been an active member of Roanoke Post 3 American Legion since 2000, is a former Commander, and still serves as the athletic officer. Doug has been the District Commissioner for the last dozen years. He served as state tournament director as well as a baseball committee member for the Department of Virginia.
As a player, coach and most recently, a scout, Spradlin has enjoyed success on the diamond every step of the way. A product of William Byrd High School’s storied program, he was a four-year letterman, class of 1984. He then played in college, pitching for Carson-Newman. He returned to Byrd as an assistant coach for several years before ascending to the top job. Spradlin posted a 94-22 record in five seasons, winning five Blue Ridge District championships, two regional titles and the 1997 AA state championship. He was named Group AA state coach of the year in 1997. He has coached in Virginia’s Commonwealth Games for 26 years.He was an associate scout with Kansas City and regional scout with Baseball Factory.
Roanoke institution Ernie Bradd hails from Central Illinois, where he played various high school sports, American Legion ball and fast-pitch softball. In 1966, Bradd was transferred to Roanoke with the N&W Railway and began coaching rec teams in the Roanoke area and by the late 1960s. He also began umpiring baseball and officiating basketball and football. Bradd worked regional and state tournament games in multiple sports, moving to the college level in baseball. He umpired baseball games at Virginia Tech, Liberty and throughout the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. In the mid-1980s, Bradd became a Virginia High School League (VHSL) commissioner in the Roanoke area for five sports.
Jay Phillips honed his baseball skills at Oakton High School and was named Group AAA all-state in the late 1970s. He matriculated as an all-conference infielder at Virginia Tech. A three-year starter, Phillips posted a career batting average of .338 and stole 82 bases, fifth on Virginia Tech’s all-time list. Phillips was a 1982 10th-round draft pick of Kansas City, and during his minor league career split between the Royals and Milwaukee organizations, he made stops in Montana, South Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin. Phillips began coaching as an assistant at Tech and then became an assistant at his former high school. He accepted a position at George Mason University before returning to the Hokies as an assistant in 1991.
Joe Raccuia, a 1995 graduate of Radford University, returned to his roots in July 2007, when he was named the fifth head coach in Highlanders baseball history. Throughout his 14 seasons in a Highlander uniform, Raccuia was a part of 398 wins as a player (1994-95), an assistant coach (1996), and a head coach (2008-2019). Raccuia’s most successful season at Radford came during an historic 2015 campaign. The Highlanders finished 45-16, setting a new school record in wins. Raccuia was named the 2015 Big South Coach of the Year. Raccuia has seen 15 of his players either drafted or signed to play professional baseball. He left Radford in 2020 to join the New York Mets organization in Player Development.
Barry Shelton played baseball at Roanoke’s Patrick Henry (1991). At West Virginia State University, Shelton earned All-American and Regional Player of the Year honors. He was selected in the 21st round of the 1995 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox and played professionally four seasons. Shelton began his coaching career at his alma mater, serving as an assistant coach at WVSU. He then moved to Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY), serving as head coach for three seasons before moving to Ferrum in 2003. The Panthers won a 2004 USA South Conference regular season title and a 2005 tournament championship. He currently teaches at Franklin County High School and served as the Eagles head baseball coach.
1998 was a dream season for the Ferrum College graduate. A Division III first-team All-American, Pat Daly led the nation in home runs (24), RBI (73), slugging percentage (1.210) and runs scored (60). He batted a scorching .508, which was only a few points off the best in the country. The Danville native was named Virginia Small College Player of the Year. He made the USA South All-Conference first team three times during his college career. Daly’s career batting average at Ferrum was .399. He hit 44 homers and drove in 194 runs. Daly is one of only five Panthers whose numbers have been retired. Daly earned a spot in the Ferrum Hall of Fame in 2010 and the USA South Hall of Fame in 2014.
David Groseclose is a 1991 Alleghany High School graduate, a four-year starter at shortstop. David hit more than .400 three of those years, including .456 as a junior and .484 as a senior. He is the only Mountaineer with more than 100 career hits. David then played baseball four years at VMI, starting 95 out of 96 games his junior and senior years. He was selected All-Southern Conference second team in 1993 and 1994 and first team his senior year. He had 206 career hits at VMI and broke a 40-year Southern Conference Record with 100 career stolen bases. Groseclose was drafted in 1995 in the 22nd round of the Major League draft by the Colorado Rockies and played two seasons in the Rockies organization.
Matt McGuire played at William Byrd (1999), where he was part of four district, two region, and one state title. He was 4-time All-District, 3-time All-Region, 2-time All-State, 2-time All-Timesland, and 2-time Commonwealth Games participant. In ’99, McGuire was named district, region and state Player of the Year, a VHSCA All-Star Game participant and Ray Bellamy Award winner. McGuire went on to play at William & Mary. McGuire started coaching at Byrd from 2004-06, then moved into college with stops at VMI, Tennessee Wesleyan, Ferrumm, Randolph-Macon and Roanoke. In 2017, McGuire led the Maroons to their first-ever ODAC title and the D-III College World Series, finishing third in the country.
An all-state pitcher and outfielder at Otterburn Academy in Bedford County in the 1970s, Roger White has been immersed in area baseball for 40-plus years, Roger has either played, coached or scouted, developing talent at a variety of levels. Roger matriculated at Lynchburg College (class of 1982). He posted a 146-51 record as head coach at Cave Spring High School from 1989-97, winning four Roanoke Valley District titles and one regional championship. In 1989, Cave Spring was the Group AAA state runner-up. From 2003-05, Roger was integral in reviving baseball at Roanoke College, where he served as the associate head/pitching coach. Through the years, he served as a scout for several MLB affiliates.
Eric Altizer has been part of Auburn baseball for all but 11 years the program has been in existence. He was selected first-team All-Mountain Empire District and first-team All-Region C as a pitcher his junior and senior years. Altizer began his baseball coaching career as the head JV coach at Auburn in the late ’80s and returned as head coach of his alma mater in 1999. After a 10-year stint, Altizer stepped down to serve as an assistant coach on his son’s travel teams in the Roanoke Valley. Altizer returned to Auburn as a JV coach in 2013 and took over the Varsity position again in 2016. Auburn has won three state Group 1A titles under Altizer’s leadership and was selected Group 1A Coach of the Year twice.
A 1994 Jefferson Forest High School graduate, Ryan was named first-team All-Seminole District and first-team All-Region III at shortstop. He was chosen as the Roanoke Times and Lynchburg News and Advance Player of the Year in 1993, as well as being named 1st Team All Seminole District, 1st Team All Region III and 1st Team All State AA. In 1994, as a senior, his performance was nearly a carbon copy. Gilleland attended the University of Virginia and was a four-year starter (1995-1998). Ryan graduated as the program’s all-time leader in games played (221), at-bats (865) and RBI (166). He later served as head baseball coach at Jefferson Forest and has achieved remarkable success.
Roanoke native and Cave Spring Knight, Tyler was Timesland player of the year and Salem-Roanoke Baseball Ray Bellamy player of the year in 2001. Selected by the Florida Marlins in the 5th round of the 2001 Major League Draft, he opted to attend Clemson. In his freshman year, he worked his way into the starting rotation for the Tigers helping lead them to the College World Series. Tyler was selected as a freshman All-American, selected to the USA Olympic trials. He was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 1st round of the 2004 MLB draft. In 2006 he was traded to Kansas City as a top prospect, joining the Royals. He played for Houston and San Diego and played professionally in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.
Keith Mayhew, a three-time All-American during his baseball career at Ferrum College, was a star right-handed pitcher for the Panthers from 1992-95. He was the college’s only three-time All-American, earning 3rd team in 1993, 2nd team in 1994, and 1st team in 1995. He completed his career with a 34-5 record. He was chosen Small College Player of the Year in 1995. Known as the pitching staff’s “ironman,” Mayhew held season and career D-III strikeout marks. He holds Ferrum single season and career records for wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. Mayhew earned all-district & all-region honors as a high school shortstop at Appomattox County. In 1995, he was drafted by Atlanta in the 31st round.
Doug Pence was an enthusiastic baseball coach, assisting six William Byrd head coaches, as well as serving as head coach of the American Legion Post 3 North team for five years. He also coached AAU and travel baseball for an additional 10 years. Upon his retirement from Byrd, he stepped back into coaching with two other former coaches as he helped tutor young men in Roanoke City’s Breckenridge Middle School on baseball fundamentals. Doug introduced the Terrier baseball program to the Boston “B,” which appears on much of the Byrd baseball equipment and uniforms. Doug was instrumental in the planning, construction, painting and maintenance of the hitting facility at Terrier Field.
Roy starred for Martinsville HS and was on the Martinsville-Henry County Oilers team in 1975 that reached the Connie Mack World Series. After graduating, Roy played at Ferrum, earning first-team NJCAA All-American during his second year in 1977 – The fourth All-American in school history. Roy moved on to play at UNC where he was named to the All-ACC team as a second baseman in 1979. Drafted by Seattle in the 24th round of the MLB Draft in 1979, he played in the Mariners' organization for four seasons. Roy continued as a pro scout with the Braves where he served as scouting director for 10 years. He became an assistant general manager for the Nationals and a senior advisor with the Royals.
Regarded as "One of the hardest working Terriers of all", Nick Jones played at William Byrd where he was part of 3 Blue Ridge District championships, 3 regional championships, a state runner-up in 2000 as well as a State Championship in 1997. Jones was All-Timesland Player of the Year, and recipient of the Ray Bellamy Player of the Year Award in 2000. He went on to play at VCU where he was a part of 3 NCAA Regional Appearances along with 2 CAA Regular Season and Tournament Championships. He was selected in the 11th round of the 2003 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. Following his career, Jones has coached throughout the Roanoke Valley at William Byrd, Roanoke College and youth organizations.
Randy Lawrence held thirteen athletic records in three sports-baseball, basketball and football at Christiansburg. He was the AA State Player of the Year in '88 where he led the Timesland in both pitching and hitting with an 11-1 record, 0.86 ERA, .621 batting average, 13 homeruns, and 52 RBIs. He was inducted as an inaugural member of Christiansburg High School's Sports Hall of Fame in April 2023. Randy began his college career at Ferrum in 1990 where he played for three seasons, was named two time Dixie All Conference Pitcher, Dixie Conference Pitcher of the Year in 1992 (9-0 record), and was an All-American. Drafted by the Red Sox in June 1992, he played three seasons in the minor leagues.
Reggie Poff began his baseball career playing for Glenvar in the 1970's. He was a teammate of other Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Famers, Sandy Hill and Scott Atkins. After college, Reggie became a lifelong multi-sport official beginning in 1975. He has officiated basketball, volleyball, softball, and baseball, but baseball umpiring has been his officiating passion for the last 47 years until his retirement in 2022. A fixture on local baseball diamonds, umpiring college, high school, American Legion, AAU, and recreational league contests, he umpired numerous district and regional high school playoff contests. He has been a crew chief for Virginia High School league finals at the A, AA, and AAA levels.
Known as a hard-throwing righty with a sharp breaking ball, Matt Trent was an outfielder and pitcher at Cave Spring, earning Honorable Mention All-State as a junior and All-Timesland as a senior. As a walk-on at Wingate, Trent earned a scholarship and led the Bulldogs in saves and strikeouts per 9 innings. In 2005, Trent was drafted in the 30th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. In his first season, he led the New Jersey Cardinals in saves before being promoted to Class A Quad Cities. He was promoted to the Palm Beach Cardinals in Class A Advanced before being traded to the Colorado Rockies organization. Trent's career stats include a 3.35 ERA, 151 appearances, 201 1/3 innings pitched and 183 strikeouts.
Ray Bellamy Award: High School Player of the Year
The award, which is a memorial to the late Ray Bellamy, a long-time amateur coach, umpire, and patron of baseball, recognizes the high school baseball Player of the Year from the Hall of Fame’s eight-county region. Players who compete for schools in the counties of Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Montgomery, and Roanoke as well as the independent cities within their boundaries are eligible for nomination. The finalists and the award winner are selected by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors with nominations from local high school coaches.
|Josh Herman William Byrd 1992|
Kelly Dampeer Northside 1993
Jason Anderson Glenvar 1994
Chad Foutz Franklin County 1995
Gray Hodges Franklin County 1996
Larry Bowles Franklin County 1997
Bobby Basham Franklin County 1998
Matt McGuire William Byrd 1999
Nick Jones William Byrd 2000
Tyler Lumsden Cave Spring 2001
Daniel Tanner Jefferson Forest 2002
|Nate Parks Glenvar 2003|
Bobby West Blacksburg 2004
Alan Moore Cave Spring 2005
Nathan Furry Salem 2006
Matthew (Lefty) Flora Northside 2007
Mikey O’Brien Hidden Valley 2008
Thomas Kuhlman Hidden Valley 2009
Erik Heiligenstadt Jefferson Forest 2010
Tyler Duke James River 2011
Dylan Powers Lord Botetourt 2012
Ryan Lauria Hidden Valley 2013
|Hayes Nelson Hidden Valley 2014|
Dean Hermanson William Byrd 2015
JD Mundy Northside 2016
Cody Boone Hidden Valley 2017
Evan Parks Northside 2018
Carter Plunkett Patrick Henry 2019
Tyler Dean William Byrd 2021
Mason Self Christiansburg 2022
Trey Ludy Cave Spring 2023
Posey Oyler Scholarship
The Hall of Fame Board of Directors established a scholarship in memory and honor of past president Posey Oyler in 2009. Posey passed away in January 2008. He was the president of the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991. Board members always figured when the doors to the new Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame building swung open, Posey would be standing at the entrance with a big smile on his face.Posey was the face of the Hall of Fame for the first 17 years, and that should draw a chuckle if you’ve ever seen that funny face Posey mustered and was pictured in the banquet program. The Hall was Posey’s baby, and the new building on the grounds of Salem Memorial Stadium was the glory of 17 years of love and hard work he put into this organization.
Baseball was Posey’s passion. A Roanoke native, he coached American Legion baseball for almost 20 years and served as Post 3 baseball chairman for over 20 years. He ran the meetings for the Board, throwing “Roberts Rules of Order” to the wind as he wandered off the subject to say how things were supposed to be.
No one on the board worked harder. He sold the most program ads, did much of the necessary legwork himself, and was a walking billboard for the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame. There is a wall just inside the building that honors him, but the reality of the building itself is the fulfillment of his dream. He was inducted into the Hall in 1997.
|Mark Wimmer Salem 2009|
Brett Carroll Lord Botetourt 2010
Jacob McMillan William Byrd 2010
Alex Stepp Salem 2011
Jo Stickney William Byrd 2012
Ryan Peevey Franklin County 2013
|Dustin Boothe William Byrd 2014|
Charlie Morris Radford 2015
Derek Tremblay Alleghany 2016
Alex Hylton Christiansburg 2017
Joe Quinn Salem 2018
Logan Altizer Cave Spring 2018
|Keith Reed Auburn 2019|
Davis Yeaman North Cross 2021
Nate Hall Christiansburg 2022
Damien Boyd Auburn 2023
Kelvin Bowles Scholarship
Baseball in the Roanoke Valley owes much gratitude to one often credited for keeping pro ball in our backyard while encouraging the development of young players. The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame board of directors unanimously approved the establishment of an annual scholarship in to honor the late Kelvin Bowles in 2022.Bowles was an integral part of the Hall’s board, serving from the organization’s inception in 1991 until his passing, a period of 30-plus years. He was dependable in his board attendance, serving up ideas to improve banquet mechanics and suggesting candidates for induction consideration. Bowles served as emcee for many years and often hosted guest speakers during their visits.
Bowles was an avid baseball player growing up in Franklin County, then serving as a player-coach in the Air Force. Bowles later coached Connie Mack and Babe Ruth senior league teams and became a part-time major league scout in 1975.
One Bowles’ recruit was future major league star Lou Whitaker, who caught Bowles’ eye while playing for Martinsville High School in the 1970s. Bowles worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau. He also had affiliations with the Pirates, Expos, Marlins and Red Sox.
Bowles’ most visible association with area baseball came with his purchase of the Salem professional franchise in 1985 – when it appeared the team might leave the Roanoke Valley. Bowles’ business acumen, originally cultivated in the cable TV business, translated well to baseball. After associations with several major league teams, Bowles eventually sold the franchise in 2006, but he remained involved with area baseball.
The Kelvin Bowles Scholarship was founded with contributions from his widow, Jane, son, Brian, and longtime friend John Rocovich, like Bowles a veteran Hall of Fame board member. The family requested that “love of the game” be a primary consideration for the scholarship recipient.
|Trenton Sayers William Byrd 2022||Preston Crowl Franklin County 2023|
Wayne LaPierre Sr. Service Award
An original board member of the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame, Wayne LaPierre was prolific in Roanoke Valley sandlot and American Legion baseball. Wayne’s connections with local baseball date to 1960, when he helped establish the Garden City sandlot program. Over the years, through his work with Kiwanis and American Legion, he helped build fields and raised funds to enable area youths to play. This award was established in 2004 to honor Wayne's legacy and his unmatched affinity for the game of baseball.
Each year's winner is honored at the annual Hall of Fame banquet for their contributions to the game of baseball in and outside of the Roanoke Valley.
|2004 Tony Hehn|
2005 Carey Harveycutter
2006 Jimmy Camper
2007 Ben Metheney
2008 Dickie Walthall
2009 E.C. Warren
2010 Steven Marsh
|2011 John Montgomery|
2012 Red Phillips
2013 Leo Wheeler
2014 Bill Petty
2015 Chuck Muncy
2016 Ray Cox
2017 Mike Cromer
|2018 Bill Turner|
2019 Michael Deneka
2020 Bill Rutledge
2022 Butch Craft
2023 Gary Oyler
About the Hall of Fame
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame has proven to be a big hit with Southwest Virginia baseball fans.
The Hall honors players and contributors from the counties of Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Montgomery, and Roanoke and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties. It was discussed for years before a group of local baseball enthusiasts decided the time was right in the fall of 1991.
Longtime American Legion coach Posey Oyler, who would become the first president of the organization, was the bell cow for the Hall. He compiled a group of 10 others from all walks of life to serve on the founding Board of Directors. The directors included sportswriters, a lawyer, a former big leaguer, and representatives from the local Carolina League team, as well as others who share a passion for the national pastime of baseball.
The Board of Directors had less than six months to charter a constitution and set forth bylaws, much less organize a banquet. It was decided that the week after the National Football League Super Bowl game would be an excellent time for the annual “Hot Stove” banquet and induction ceremony.
Time was short, but with Oyler’s guidance and the hard work of everyone involved, the Hall of Fame debuted in glorious fashion. Former New York Yankee great Bobby Richardson was well-received as the main speaker at the banquet and Salem Avalanche owner Kelvin Bowles did a splendid job as master of ceremonies.
The charter class included four former big leaguers, Salem native Billy Sample, Roanoke flame-thrower Al Holland, Carolina League MVP and big-league slugger Dave Parker and the late Walter “Steve” Brodie, known as the “Duke of Roanoke” during an illustrious career in the early part of the century. Joining them was F.J. “Kid” Carr, a well-known baseball player, coach, and scout in the valley for many years.
Representatives of Brodie’s family joined Sample, Holland, and Carr at the Salem Civic Center for the hot stove banquet. The first banquet drew 417 fans. Parker didn’t make it, but accepted his award that summer when he flew in for the annual Salem “Old Timers Game.”
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame opened in July of 2009 with a dedication and open house. It is located on the grounds of Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium behind the offices of the Salem Red Sox.