Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2020; Murray Cook to be Keynote Speaker
Four area baseball players and contributors have been selected for induction into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame at the 29th annual hot stove banquet scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 2020 at the Salem Civic Center.
In addition, longtime Roanoke businessman Bill Rutledge has been chosen to receive the prestigious Wayne LaPierre, Sr. Community Service Award for contributions to the game.
Murray Cook, a Salem native who has risen to one of the top professionals around the world in the design, construction and management of sports fields and ballparks, will be this year’s keynote speaker, paving the way for what should be an exceptional and fun-filled night of baseball.
Cook, a member of the Hall of Fame since his induction in 2006, began his career and honed his groundskeeping talents at Salem Municipal Field, now Billy Sample Field at Kiwanis Park, as a clubhouse boy for the former Salem Pirates in the early 1970s, working his way up to assistant groundskeeper in 1974 and being promoted to head groundskeeper in 1975 at the age of 14, The field at the Salem landmark was manicured to perfection, which quickly led Cook to making a name for himself. His tireless work didn’t go unnoticed.
By 1988, he was hired as the stadium manager for West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium in Florida, a 10-field spring training facility that was home to the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos, and after 8 years, moved to Roger Dean Stadium, a 14-field complex for the Expos and St. Louis Cardinals. In 1996, Cook was hired by Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando to design their new multi-field facility.
By this time, Cook was receiving national and worldwide attention for his expertise, and was chosen to supervise the fields for the 2000 Sydney Olympics as Technical Venue Supervisor, then for the 2004 Athens Olympics as Deputy Competition Manager, followed by the 2008 Beijing Olympics as Baseball Venue Operations Manager.
In the last 20 years, Cook has been all over the world creating fields for big league and international baseball events, including the special Major League Baseball season openers in Sydney, Tokyo and San Juan, while also being the Official Field Consultant for the MLB Office of the Commissioner for 25 years.
Winning numerous awards along the way, Cook has been the Official Turf Consultant for the National Mall in Washington, D.C., offered management services for over 60 countries and is currently involved in the construction of the “Field of Dreams” in Dyersville, Iowa, which began in 2019. His ball field at Fort Bragg, N.C. was deemed “Ballpark of the Year” in 2016 by USA TODAY.
The Class of 2020 will include Pat Daly, David Groseclose, Matt McGuire and Roger White.
Daly is one of the best players ever to play at Ferrum College. In 1998 he led all NCAA Division III teams in the nation in home runs (24), RBIs (73), runs scored (70) and slugging percentage (1.210), while finishing second overall in batting average with an amazing .508. He stuck out only ten times all season.
Those numbers led the Danville native to being named first-team All-American and Virginia Small College Player of the Year. He went on to be named to the Hall of Fame at Ferrum (2010) where he had his number retired and the USA South Conference Hall of Fame (2014) where he was named first-team three times. His career totals at Ferrum included 44 homers and driving in 194 runs while batting .399.
Groseclose was a 1991 graduate of Alleghany High School where he played baseball for the Mountaineers and remains as the only Alleghany player to ever record 100 career hits. He went on to play four seasons at V.M.I. in Lexington, where he earned second-team All Southern Conference in 1993 and 1994, and first-team in 1995. He had 206 career hits with the Keydets and broke a 40-year Southern Conference record with 100 career stolen bases, a record that still remains #1 all-time at V.M.I.
Groseclose was drafted in the 22nd round of the 1995 Major League Draft by the Colorado Rockies, eventually playing two seasons in the Rockies organization in Arizona, Portland and Ashville, NC.
McGuire , the current coach of the Roanoke College baseball team, is a William Byrd and William & Mary graduate. At Byrd, he played on the 1997 state championship team and still holds the career record for most hits (117) by a Terrier. He was captain of the W&M team that won the program’s Colonial Athletic Association championship in 2001, thereby advancing to NCAA regional play. Following graduation, McGuire coached at Byrd before becoming an assistant at the college ranks at VMI, Tennessee Wesleyan, Ferrum and Randolph-Macon. He has coached at Roanoke for the past five years, which included a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2017 after winning the ODAC and South Region championships. The Maroons finished third in the country that year. His tenure at Roanoke includes five straight winning seasons, averaging over 20 wins a year. In 2018, Roanoke reached a #4 national ranking, the first in school history.
Roger White has a long and illustrious baseball career, beginning as an all-state pitcher and outfielder at Otterburn Academy in Bedford County, leading to a 40-year span where he with played, coached or scouted, developing talent at a variety of levels. He graduated from Lynchburg College in 1982, where he pitched before becoming a graduate assistant. White retired after 34 years with the Roanoke County School System where he posted a 146-51 record as head baseball coach at Cave Spring High School from 1989-97, winning four Roanoke Valley District titles and one regional championship, including Group AAA state runner-up in 1989. At Cave Spring, 34 of his players went on to play college baseball and four turned professional.
White was a Team One National Showcase coach from 1991-98, and from 2003-05 was a driving force in reviving the baseball program at Roanoke College for the first time in over 60 years where he served as the associate/head pitching coach. He also was involved in organizing and planning baseball as part of the Commonwealth Games of Virginia. Throughout the years he served as a baseball scout at the Major League level with San Francisco, Atlanta and currently, the San Diego Padres.
Rutledge is honored with the LaPierre Community Service Award after his long-standing support of baseball in the area and 29-year support of the Salem-Roanoke Hall of Fame. Rutledge played little league baseball in Salem and for Andrew Lewis High School where he graduated in 1966. He also played for Salem Post 202 American Legion and for Salem’s Virginia Amateur League team. His vision and admiration for Hall of Fame co-founder, Posey Oyler, have been a driving force in the success and growth of the Hall. Rutledge is well known today for his family business, Rutledge Paint and Body, which is celebrating its 70th year in business.
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 and honors players, coaches and contributors from the counties of Alleghany, Roanoke, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery, and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties. The Hall of Fame Building is located on the grounds of the James E. Taliaferro Complex, next to the Salem Red Sox administrative office behind the third base seating area of Salem Memorial Ballpark. It is open to the public prior to Red Sox games and upon request.
The evening begins with a 5:30 social followed by dinner at 6:30 and the program. Tickets are $35.
Tickets to this year’s banquet will be available at the Salem Civic Center box office, 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