Cave Spring High School honored one its own Friday afternoon before the Knights scheduled baseball game against Christiansburg.
George Canale, who grew up the Cave Spring National Little League and Cave Spring Dixie League before playing his high school ball at Cave Spring, had his jersey retired in a pre-game ceremony in front of a large contingency of former coaches, teammates, the current Cave Spring team and fans, along with members of the Cave Spring recreation little league, who joined their high school counterparts on the field during the presentation. Canale began his little league days as a member of The Roanokers, a team in the Cave Spring National which has been sponsored by The Roanoker Restaurant for decades.
Canale played at Cave Spring and in American Legion baseball for Roanoke Post 3 South for four years. He graduated from Cave Spring in 1983. Canale signed with Virginia Tech where he played from 1984-1986. While at Tech he set a new career home run record with 76 home runs, tied the single season record and set a new career RBI record for the Hokies.
During the 1986 season, Canale hit the most the most home runs in Division 1 baseball with 29 home runs. The same year, Canale was chosen as the All-American first baseman on the 1986 College Baseball All-American Team, joining other recognizable future major leaguers including long time Chicago White Sox third baseman and current White Sox manager Robin Ventura, along with former San Francisco All-Star third baseman and former Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams.
Canale was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 6th round of the 1986 amateur draft, and played his first professional season with the Brewers rookie league Helena Gold Sox in 1986.
After spending time in the Brewers minor league system, Canale made his Major League Baseball debut on September 3, 1989, before playing at the major league level from 1989- 1991. From 1992 until 1999 he played for the Montreal Expos, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations, along with stints in Italy, Taiwan and Korea. Canale retired from baseball in 1999 and currently resides in Roanoke County.
The special ceremony for Canale was a joint effort of long-time Cave Spring supporter Wally Beagle, Cave Spring High School principal Steve Spangler and Cave Spring athletic director Jon Hartness.
The framed jersey will be placed in the lobby of Cave Spring High School.