The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame inducted four new members to its prestigious list last Thursday night at the 23rd annual induction ceremony and hot stove banquet held at the Salem Civic Center.
Bob Humphreys, who played for five major league teams and later coached baseball at Virginia Tech, was the guest speaker before a crowd of over 400.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2014 included Scott Atkins, Ray Ryan, Jim Thacker and Sid Witt, II. Bill Petty was presented the Wayne LaPierre Community Service Award. Franklin County High School catcher Ryan Peevey received the Posey Oyler Scholarship Award. Oyler, who passed away in January 2008, was the brainchild of the Hall of Fame and was president since its inception in 1991. His dream, the Hall of Fame building located on the grounds of Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium, became a reality a few years ago right after his death.
This year’s inductees all came with impressive resumes.
Atkins was a long time mainstay of Glenver baseball, playing at Glenvar High School before earning a scholarship to Virginia Tech, playing for Bob Humphreys. Atkins later coached at Andrew Lewis Middle School and Salem High School.
Ryan had a baseball career that spanned 60 years. Born in 1883, Ryan was a minor league player, manager and owner associated with 41 teams. He managed the 1915 Virginia pennant-winning Rocky Mount Carolinians and was founder of the Appalachian and Mountain State Leagues. Ryan’s award was accepted posthumously by his granddaughter Nancy Foye-Cox.
Thacker, who played at Liberty High School and Longwood College, spent 28 years as the head baseball coach at Jefferson Forest High School before retiring after the 2013 season. He posted a 424-205 record with the Cavaliers, including the state AA championship in 1988 when he was also named State AA Coach of the Year.
Witt made one of the biggest contributions to area baseball when he cofounded in 1989 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. Beginning with one team, the program now has 12 teams and is still growing.
The Roanoke Star would like to congratulate all members of the Class of 2014.