ASHLAND, Ky. – Today was supposed to be the day the Ashland Baseball CP-1 Hall of Fame opened its doors to the 2020 class.
But COVID-19 forced us to postpone the ceremony until August 2021. Maybe it was fitting that it rained this afternoon. It would have been about the time we were wrapping up the ceremony.
We’ve never had a rainout for a CP-1 ceremony. That record remains intact.
Just because we couldn’t have the ceremony today – and we’ll do our best to make up for it next summer – doesn’t mean we can’t take a second to honor this outstanding group of baseball players and coaches.
This class had some memorable names with it, including one man who has been described as the best athlete ever in Ashland. That would be Wilson Barrow, the flame-throwing black pitcher from the 1960s. His fastball ranked with lefties Bill Lynch and Don Gullett- now that’s fast.
In high school, Barrow bridged Booker T. Washington and Paul G. Blazer High School during the days of integration in 1962.
Barrow is part of a 10-man class that includes a mix of players and coaches and a few who did a little of both. Joining him are: Scott Crank, Mike Delaney, Brian Finkbone, Bill Hammond, French Harmon, Jon Hart, Cabot Keesey, Mark Moore and Mike Tussey.
The 10 inductees will bring the total to 70 on the way to 100 selections.
Here is a closer look at the 2020 inductees:
-Wilson Barrow, who played in Ashland’s inaugural Little League season in 1955, could make the mitt pop like few others who ever played in the park. Barrow’s fastball was compared to how Bill Lynch and Don Gullett threw later in the decade.
-Scott Crank was one of Ashland’s best three-sport athletes. He starred in football (quarterback), basketball (point guard) and baseball (shortstop) for the Tomcats in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was a clutch hitter and slick-fielding shortstop for the Tomcats and Post 76.
-Mike Delaney is going in for his longtime coaching role with Post 76, basically keeping the program alive, but he was an outstanding player in his own rights as a middle infielder in the mid-1970s for the Ashland Tomcats and Post 76.
-Bryan Finkbone was the consummate leadoff hitter and the sparkplug for the Tomcats in the mid-1970s. His speed made him a pest for opposing pitchers who had a hard time keeping him off the bases. His all-out style made him a favorite with teammates.
-Bill Hammond has coached at CP-1 for many summers and continues as a co-coach with Delaney for Post 76. He was also a standout pitcher for the Tomcats and Post 76 in the mid-1970s and became an outstanding teacher of the pitching craft.
-French Harmon was a solid contributor as a player for the Tomcats in the late 1970s, but it was his coaching skills that make him a CP-1 Hall of Famer. He led a Connie Mack League resurgence in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was instrumental in CP-1 Hall of Famer Juan Thomas’ career, along with many others.
-Jon Hart’s smooth swing made him a feared hitter for the Tomcats, Post 76, Stan Musial and Marshall University. If he didn’t beat you with his bat, he’d do it with the glove. Hart was one of the top all-around players wherever he played in his career.
-Cabot Keesey spanned the late 1970s and early 1980s as well and was a pure hitter who swung the bat as well as anyone and was also a strong defensive player, both in the infield and outfield, throughout his playing career that included the Tomcats, Post 76 and Stan Musial.
-Mark Moore played for the Tomcats and Post 76 and then another 10 years on the Stan Musial level, making him one of the all-time veterans of the park. He hit for power and played flawlessly at shortstop, making every team he played for better.
-Mike Tussey, who coached youth league baseball for 22 years and won a state championship in 1988 with the Stan Musial adult league where he won more than 200 games in 10 seasons, was also a cable television broadcaster who was in the booth for countless high school and American Legion games in the 1970s and 1980s.