33 OF 75 YEARS AND BEYOND!
ANNUAL HDL AWARDS AND HALL OF FAME BANQUET was a huge success on Saturday, November 17th, as over 60 players, Hall of Fame members and guests attended this annual gala. Hall of Fame Inductees: James Sloan, Don Miller and Jackie Trenthem were gracious and proud to be our newest members. HDL Players received their awards with Brian Nilsen loading up the most prestigious awards as he took the League MVP, Batting Title and Rookie of year.
Congratulations to these fine recipients. A full recap of all award winners is posted as follows:
On November 17th, I attended the 33rd Annual HDL Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. What was overlooked was the fact that the HDL has been playing Adult League Baseball in Memphis, Tennessee for the past 75 years (1937 – 2012). That in itself is phenomenal. In 1979, the Fathers of the HDL Hall of Fame, Gene Brady, Charlie Henry, Merrill Dan, Jerry Finn, Johnny Bistolfi and James Flynn, had enough passion for this Independent league to create a foundation for an annual event that would forever be cherished by their successers.
As the current HDL President, I feel compelled to “carry the torch” and “keep the line moving.” SO be it. It is a good thing and deserves commitment. Deserving, not for me or those who have experienced it in the past, but mostly for those in the future who will continue to support this tradition. Tonight was a good demonstration of what the annual banquet contributes to supporting and being a part of baseball in Memphis.
What was special about this year’s event?
I don’t have an official total, but I know I counted 58 people at the Butcher Shop. Not bad. Could have been better.
The evening was slow getting going after I had to return home to get my Laptop that I had left. By the time I arrived back at the Butcher Shop at 6:45 PM, many of the guests were seated and ready for dinner to get started.
Once we got the food orders working, we jumped right into the program using a different approach to try to make up some of the time we lost. As we were waiting for food to be served, we decided to start announcing trophy winners so the Home Stretch Trophy distibution would not be so backed up or super late.
Prior to the Guest Speaker being introduced, a special announcement was requested from LeMoyne Owen College. Assistant LOC Coach Kindred Clark asked to say a few words about the support they have received from the HDL and Larry Rutledge. I had some suspicions Coach Clark was attending for a good reason. Coach Clark expressed his deep appreciation for all the sweat and hard work that Larry Rutledge had provided this past summer to help get Jesse Turner Baseball Field in playable shape. Photo slide show was played to demonstrate the improvements that have been accomplished. This cooperative effort successfully demonstrated how Baseball can build something positive in a community that transcends peoples differences. Let me say that I was very touched by LeMoyne Owen’s sincerity and I appreciate it very much.
George Sykes gave the HDL crowd an enthusiastic synopsis of how supporting baseball in Memphis, at all levels of organization, has always been a driving force for positive change in Memphis and the surrounding area. Coach Sykes main speech topic and points of emphasis could not have been more timely and seemed to put the whole evening in perspective. My wife commented on the way home how some of Coach Sykes description of people in different areas of Memphis were instrumental in establishing parks and facilities that she is familiar with.
Hall of Fame Inductees
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony started off with Induction of James Sloan. Since the HoF Committee was unsuccessful in contacting James Sloan, it was explained that the committee decided this year that going forward, th HDL Hall of Fame would not let lack of contact information be a deterrant to being inducted in the Hall of Fame. James Sloan had sufficient respect from HoF Committee to warrant induction. Efforts will continue to try to locate James Sloan so he can receive his certificate and hopefully re-connect with a former HDL great player.
The next Inductee was Mr. Don Miller who played in the HDL until 2009. In 2002, Don was first place manager of the Razors Edge Blue team. And as a player, Don was respected for being a player who gave his best when he stepped on the field. Don contributed in many ways when he was an active player and continues to keep up with the HDL on Facebook and the websites.
Our final Inductee was Ms Jackie Trenthem. Ms Jackie was voted into the Hall of Fame for her Advisorship to the HDL and helping coordinate uninterrupted use of Tobey Baseball Field throughout the years. Her understanding and respect for the Hernando Desoto Baseball League is appreciated. The HDL’s mutual respect for the awesome job she does for the athletic services of the City of Memphis is invaluable. Ms Jackie had nothing but words of praise for this special moment in her life.