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Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame

Thursday, January 26
Salem Civic Center

Now in its 21st year, the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame has proven to be a big hit with the Southwest Virginia baseball fans.

The Hall honors players and contributors from the counties or Roanoke, Bedford, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, and Montgomery, and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties. It was discussed for years before a group of local baseball enthusiasts decided the time was right in the fall of 1991.

Four area baseball players and contributors have been selected for induction into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame at the 21st annual banquet, scheduled for Thursday, January 26, 2012, at the Salem Civic Center. This year's inductees are Dave Christianson, Fred Corbett, Ron Shockley, and Mark Sweeney. The Salem Red Sox will be hosting a silent auction in conjunction with the dinner with 100% of the proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia.

Tickets for the banquet are now available 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. A speaker for the banquet will be announced soon. The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 and honors players and contributors from the counties of 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.

Christianson came to Salem as a member of the Salem Redbirds Carolina League baseball team in the early '80s and settled in the area. He's been actively involved in baseball for almost 30 years in the Roanoke Valley, coaching sandlot ball and American Legion baseball. He's volunteered countless hours to help young players become better ballplayers and he also runs the Rip City Baseball Training School in Salem. A tireless promoter of the game, Dave recently joined a mission trip to Nicaragua to distribute equipment and teach the game.

Corbett, a Roanoke native, has been a long-time coach and administrator for the Cave Spring Little League baseball program. He was instrumental in the construction of the Starkey Park complex and attracted state tournaments to the area. Fred is District Administrator for District 12 of Little League baseball, acting as a liaison between the local leagues and Little League International in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Ron Shockley was an outstanding pitcher for Virginia Tech, the Virginia Amateur League, and other semi-pro leagues in the '60s and '70s before becoming a successful high school coach in Florida. He attended Northside High School before it had a baseball program, but that he was still able to walk-on at Tech and make the team. In three seasons, he was 7-1 with a 1.62 earned run average. Ron coached junior high ball in Roanoke before moving to Jacksonville, Florida in 1976 where he's been quite successful as a coach.

Sweeney pitched for William Byrd High School in Vinton and the University of Richmond. After striking out 201 batters in high school, Sweeney opted to attend Richmond, where he posted a 17-11 record in four years. At the urging of his mother, he attended a Cleveland Indians tryout camp after graduation, and he was the only player signed among close to 70 players at the camp. He played two years in the Indians organization before a shoulder problem ended his pro career. He's now a lieutenant for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

The Hall of Fame also has announced that R.B. "Red" Phillips will receive the Wayne LaPierre Community Service Award at the January banquet. Phillips, 88, is known for his dedication to baseball and kids for many years in the Christiansburg area.

Tickets for the banquet are now available 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. A speaker for the banquet will be announced soon. The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 and honors players and contributors from the counties of 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.