by Jim Riggs
February 8, 1983
Hall of Fame Population Increases By Seven
The guest speakers were former major league pitchers Sam McDowell and Steve Blass, Montreal Expos Director of Minor Leagues Bob Gebhard, and Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Justin Cross.
The emcee for the event was again Tom Eakin, founder and president of the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame.
The first inductee Eakin introduced was Hyde, who, of course, had a tie-in with all the inductees. The former Post-Journal sports editor for 35 years explained that when he managed boxers in North Dakota long before coming to Jamestown, one of his boxer’s opponents was Clark. Hyde had forgotten Clark’s name, but, once when interviewing the boxer, he asked who was the toughest puncher the middleweight had faced. Clark said it was a boxer in North Dakota that Hyde had probably never heard of and then told him the name. Hyde quickly informed Clark that he not only had heard of him, but had managed him as well.
When hearing the story retold Monday night, Clark smiled and nodded his head in agreement.
Clark was the next member inducted and one of the Hall of Fame directors, John Champion, spoke for the former Olympic boxer and explained how Clark learned his boxing early in life. “Jimmy had to fight his way to school and fight his way home,” said Champion. That gave Clark the street sense to become a winner in the ring.
Bob Ehmke, the nephew of the 1929 World Series hero for the Philadelphia Athletics, accepted the Hall of Fame plaque for his uncle. Another nephew, Paul, pointed out the family would have had a very nice piece of memorabilia to donate to the Hall of Fame museum. He said his late uncle had a baseball autographed by quite a few Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth, but when they were kids, Paul and his friends used it for pickup games.
Don Reinhoudt, who set 36 world power lifting records from 1971-80, gave the credit for his success to his wife, Cindy. He explained he had no self-confidence until his wife convinced him to compete. He also pointed out a friend who passed away, Tom Buck, also had a lot to do with his success and he accepted the Hall of Fame induction in Buck’s name.
Hugh Imus, the grandson of Bedient, accepted the plaque for the Gerry native who picked up two mound wins in the 1912 World Series for the Boston Red Sox. Imus said one of his grandfather’s biggest thrills was the celebration this area gave him when he returned home after the World Series instead of staying in Boston.
Hanson pointed out how his speed-skating success as a competitor and then a coach was a family affair. It was mainly a family affair as a coach because his family sacrificed summer vacations to make trips to skating competitions in the winter. He also credited the Chautauqua County area for its sports facilities and commented how out-of-town competitors always complimented the area.
Nagle, who was quite a player despite his small stature (5-4, 140 pounds), was also a successful manager leading two teams to the national semi-pro tournament. But he said those winning teams were due to the players. “It wasn’t all the manager’s credit,” he explained. Then he related one of the great plays when one of his teams scored two runs on a squeeze play.
The first guest speaker, Gebhard, said Jim Fanning, then Montreal manager, had commented how impressive last year’s induction dinner was. After hearing Fanning’s comments, Gebhard wanted to be a part of this one.
Cross was quite moved by the inductions and pointed out that since he is only 23 he has a lot to accomplish to match the inductees. “These people (the inductees) took life as a daring adventure.”
McDowell, who had his greatest success with the Cleveland Indians, now counsels major leaguers and professional football players with alcohol and drug problems. He explained these athletes’ problems and their road to recovery is not an easy task. “It takes pain to turn your life around,” he said. Then he added that he should know because he left baseball in 1975 as an alcoholic.
Blass took the “Bob Uecker” approach to his talk and explained most of his failures as a rookie and when he suddenly lost control in 1973. He touched briefly on his most successful years when the Pirates won three straight divisional titles and he pitched two World Series victories in 1971.
Blass added that his biggest thrill was the happy look on his father’s face after winning the Third Game of the 1971 World Series.
In addition to honoring the 1983 inductees, 1982 inductees were recognized and nine were in attendance – Walt Brown, Russ Diethrick, Kay Gould, Marty Haines, Mark Hammond, Jim McCusker, Lyle Parkhurst, Brad Rendell and Leo Squinn. The widow of Nelson Turnell could not attend.
Hall of Fame president Tony Milioto announced that Eakin would be inducted into the hall due to his two years of emceeing the induction dinners and his additional help in helping the organization.
Bill Davis sang the national anthem accompanied by Richard Corbin. Rev. Joseph E. Valler gave the invocation and Rev. George McConnell gave the benediction.
The celebrating began earlier in the afternoon as Clark cut the ribbon to officially the Hall of Fame at Chautauqua Mall. It will be open noon-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.