ASHLAND, Ky. – Three Ashland Tomcat baseball greats from the 1950s will be enshrined in the Ashland Baseball CP-1 Hall of Fame on Saturday in Central Park.
Pitcher Larry Castle, catcher David Patton and center fielder H.F. Dixon were all teammates ifor the Tomcats who won the regional tournament in 1958.
Dixon was also on the 1960 regional champions that won its first game in the State Tournament before bowing out.
Castle played from 1957 to 1959 and was the No. 1 starting pitcher all three years, pitching the openers of district and regional tournaments and the region finals in 1957 and 1958.
He also started the state tournament opener in ’58, losing a narrow game with Owensboro.
Castle played either shortstop (if Dick Fillmore was pitching) or third base (if Herb Conley was pitching) when he wasn’t on the mound and batting around .350 while being one of the top run producers.
Castle’s nifty pitching was mostly off speed with an assortment of curveballs and sliders. He threw the fastball only 15 percent of the time, he said.
“I was best known for my curveball and drop curve, so I relied on them heavily,” he said. Castle struck out about 10 players per game.
Castle started his youth league career playing for Charles Russell Elementary that won back to back city championships. He also played for Ballard’s in the Pony League and his coach was T.R. Wright, whose name is on the Central Park press box. Gary Wright is T.R. Wright’s son. He also played in the Midget League where Robert Wright, Gary’s brother, was his coach.
Patton was a three-year starter from 1957 to 1959 and is best known as a catcher and powerful hitter. He hit .375 as a sophomore, .458 as a junior and .500 his senior year in 1958.
Dixon was a center fielder from 1958 to 1960, starting all three years and tracking down fly balls with the best of them. He was also a steady hitter who batted at the top of the order.
Dixon played in the first year of Babe Ruth in Ashland in 1957 and won the batting title with a .491 average.
His sandlot teammates – Gary Wright, David McGuire, Dicky Fillmore and Herb Conley – ended up being some of his high school teammates as well.
“I never took a play off I could ever remember,” he said.
Ernie Daniels, one of the best fielding shortstops in Tomcat history from 1961-63, is another inductee.
Others in the 2018 class are Don Lentz, Fred Leibee, John Sieweke, Dave Staten, Larry Stevens and Mike Tackett, all who were members of state championship teams during the stretch when the Tomcats won three titles in a row from 1966-68; 1970s players Greg Swift and Don Allen and Rick Reeves and the late Frank Wagner, who shared coaching duties from Post 76 American Legion for almost 20 years.
The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. in Central Park. It will move to the Family Life Center at Unity Baptist Church in case of rain.