The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame will induct five area baseball players and contributors as the Class of 2018 at its 27th annual hot stove banquet set for Thursday evening, January 25th at the Salem Civic Center.
This year’s featured speaker, Bobby Basham, is among the class that includes David Hagan, Jon Hartness, Doug Heptinstall and Rodney Spradlin. Additionally, sports journalist Bill Turner will receive the Wayne LaPierre, Sr. Community Service Award.
Basham, a Franklin County native, just completed his sixth season working in the front office for the Chicago Cubs organization, which included their 2016 World Championship season, the first for the Cubs in 108 years. Basham currently holds the title of Assistant Director of Minor League Operations and has held roles in Advance Scouting and Major League Strategy.
He graduated from Franklin County High School in 1998, where as a pitcher during his 1997 junior year, was a key contributor on one of the greatest baseball teams in Eagles history that won the Northwest Region championship on its way to a 22-2 record.
Bobby played three seasons at the University of Richmond and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 7th round of the 2001 MLB draft. He played seven seasons in the Minor Leagues with the Reds and the San Diego Padres and was part of three championship teams. At the height of his career he was rated the 69th best prospect in baseball, the second best prospect in the Reds organization, and the 8th best prospect in the Arizona Fall League. His second major arm surgery led to his retirement from playing after the 2007 season.
Bobby lives in Chicago with his wife Leslie and their two children, Audrey and Trey.
David Hagan had a love for baseball from a young age. Growing up in Shawsville, he was a first-team all district catcher for Shawsville High School before joining the Air Force in 1976.
As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Hagan has sponsored many local teams and in 2007 donated Motor Mile Park to Montgomery County for youth baseball. Hagan had a lifelong goal of owning a minor league team, and in 2014 he purchased historic Calfee Park in Pulaski and negotiated a contract with the New York Yankees to bring a franchise to Pulaski. Hagan rehabilitated the crumbling facility into a nationally recognized Baseball America Bob Freitas Award-winning ballpark. He has enjoyed a remarkable level of success, and is recognized as an outstanding operator in the Appalachian League and throughout Minor League Baseball.
Hands-on in every aspect of team operations, from turf management to marketing, he works tirelessly to elevate local baseball to a higher standard. Realizing the difference that athletics can make in children’s lives, youth programs and a family-friendly environment are at the core of the Pulaski program.
Jon Hartness was pitcher for Virginia Tech from 1983-87 under legendary Hokie baseball coach Chuck Hartman. Hartness finished his collegiate career with 14 wins, 8 losses and 9 saves. Mainly a reliever, he held the record for most appearances in one season with 29 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 Virginia Tech history.
Hartman returned to Virginia Tech in the fall of 1989 to become a member Hartman’s staff where he remained for 17 years as a coach, serving in roles from hitting and outfielders coach to his passion, pitching coach. During his time as a coach for Tech, he helped numerous players achieve their goals, including five All-Americans, a pair of first round draft picks and 10 others that were drafted by Major League teams.
A native of Richmond, Hartness was a member of a Little League team that played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. and became a member of the Mills Godwin High School Hall of Fame.
Jon is currently the athletic director at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County, a position he has held the past 11 years.
Doug Heptinstall, a native of Roanoke, was a three-sport athlete at Stonewall Jackson Junior High, and a graduate of William Byrd High School. He began coaching baseball in 1976 in the Cave Spring National Little League, coaching all ages in that program for 20 years, including coaching with Hall of Fame member Bob Guthrie during much of that time, and winning a 13-year-old state championship in 1984.
Heptinstall has been an active member of Roanoke Post 3 American Legion since 2000, and is a former Commander, as well as still serving as the Athletic Officer. He previously worked in Legion baseball with Hall of Fame member Posey Oyler and Tony Hehn, the Hall of Fame’s first Wayne LaPierre, Sr. Community Service Award winner. Doug has been the District Commissioner for the last 12 years, and served as state tournament director as well as a baseball committee member for the Department of Virginia.
He has presided over six district championships for Post 3 teams and more than 50 players from the program have gone on to play college baseball. Additionally, Post 3 is the only program in Virginia to have had two consecutive winners of the American Legion State Scholarship for academic and athletic excellence.
Spradlin played baseball at William Byrd High School where he was a four-year letterman, class of 1984. He was a pitcher in the college ranks at Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tenn., before returning to Byrd as an assistant coach, then head coach for the Terriers. While at Byrd as head coach, he posted a 94-22 record in five seasons, winning five Blue Ridge District championships, two regional titles and the 1997 VHSL Group AA state championship, and being named Group AA state coach of the year that year.
Rodney has coached in the Virginia’s Commonwealth Games for 26 years, working beside Commonwealth Games baseball director and Hall of Fame member, Wally Beagle.
Spradlin was an associate scout with the Kansas City Royals for seven years and has spent the last eight years as a regional scout with the Baseball Factory, traveling the east coast evaluating players’ skills.
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 and honors players and contributors in the Counties of Alleghany, Roanoke, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery, and the independent cities within the boundaries of those counties. The Hall off Fame building is located on the grounds of the James E. Taliaferro Complex beside the Salem Red Sox administrative offices behind the third base seating area of Salem Municipal Ballpark.
Tickets for the banquet can be purchased through members of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors or by calling President Charlie Hammersley at 540-556-0377 or Vice President Gary Walthall at 540-427-1977.