ASHLAND, Ky. – Saturday is going to be an emotional day in Central Park.
The third class of the CP-1 Ashland Baseball Hall of Fame will be enshrined beside the big diamond where these men and their families spent countless hours.
We started this three years ago and it’s become a summer highlight. And I know it’s going to be emotional because the first two years certainly had their moments.
Watching “Big” Ed Hughes be wheeled up to the podium and hold the bat that he used to hit one of the longest home runs in park history and then watching even bigger Juan Thomas fight back tears while talking about his mother who had recently died.
The thread between all of these classes is interesting to watch unfold. J.D. Browne, a 1961 Holy Family graduate, even has a tie to our oldest honoree, Nard Pergrem, who officiated basketball and baseball games when he played.
Nard isn’t with us anymore but his family is coming out in full force to represent him.
Browne also played with Jim Speaks in the early 1960s. Don Frailie, a schoolmate and teammate of Browne, said he first heard Speaks threw hard when he pitched for Charles Russell Elementary’s team. That’s right, in the 1960s, even the elementary schools had baseball teams.
Ashland has such a rich baseball heritage and this Saturday is the day to celebrate it. We will be dedicating the Kentucky historic marker recognizing Central Park.
I know how special the park is to everybody because the fundraising for the marker took about two days. Everybody wanted to contribute to the cause. Well, your marker is up already and we’ll put the official touches on it before the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Every one of this year’s honorees has a story to tell and they will have the opportunity to do it from 1 to 4 p.m. in front of the big diamond. Come with casual dress and enjoy The Show.
But sure to bring a hanky.
The 2017 class: