July 1, 2020
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Appalachian League today announced 18 new members have been elected to the Appalachian League Hall of Fame. The 2020 HOF Class is highlighted by Rick Ankiel, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt and New York Mets standout David Wright. Ankiel, Shildt and Wright are joined by George E. Fanning, Dale Ford, Bobby Grich, Ron Guidry, Lenny Johnston, David Justice, Harold Mains, Mike Mains, Dan Moushon, Dale Murphy, Tony Oliva, Jim Rantz, Scott Rolen, Jim Saul and Lou Whitaker.
"It is truly an honor to announce our 2020 class of the Appalachian League Hall of Fame,” said Bristol Pirates President/GM and Appalachian League HOF Committee Chairman Mahlon Luttrell. “These individuals are being recognized for the valuable contributions they have made to the continued development and success of the Appalachian League.”
Rick Ankiel: Pitched and served as DH for Johnson City in 2001. Had a .638 slugging percentage with 10 HR and 35 RBI in 105 at-bats. Went 5-3 in 14 games pitched, striking out 158 in 87 innings. Named Rookie Level Player of the Year, Appalachian League All-Star left-handed pitcher, Rookie League All-Star starting pitcher, Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, and Appalachian League All-Star designated hitter. Ankiel is the only player other than Babe Ruth to both start a postseason game as a pitcher and hit a home run in the postseason as a position player.
"I am honored to be included in the Appalachian League HOF and credit my time in the league with helping me have the confidence to switch positions from pitcher to position player. Seeing professional pitching a few times week as a DH gave me a glimpse as to what I could do as a hitter,” stated Ankiel.
Mike Shildt: Managed in Johnson City for three seasons (2009, 2010 and 2011), winning championships in 2010 and 2011. Named both Appalachian League and St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguer manager of year in 2010. Won the George Kissell award for excellence in player development in the St. Louis organization. Managed AAA Memphis for two seasons before being named St. Louis Cardinals quality control coach in 2017. St. Louis Cardinals manager: 2018-2019. Named NL manager of year in 2019.
“I am so very humbled to receive this amazing honor,” stated Shildt. “My time in the Appalachian League was a huge part of my career, with many fond memories.”
David Wright: Played for Kingsport in 2001, hitting .300 with 7 doubles, 4 home runs, 17 runs batted in and 9 stolen bases. Served as New York Mets captain from 2013-2018. Was a seven-time National League All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time Sliver Slugger recipient. Holds the Mets franchise record for hits (1,777), RBI (970), runs scored (949), doubles (390), total bases (2,945), extra base hits (658) and walks (762).
“It is a tremendous honor to be inducted into the Appalachian League Hall of Fame. The Appy League was my first stop after being drafted in 2001 and was my first taste of the competition that would challenge me for the rest of my career. The League taught me that work ethic, dedication and being a good teammate outweighed natural ability and became the foundation for my desire to succeed. Looking back at my time with the Kingsport Mets brings a smile to my face,” commented Wright.
George E. Fanning: Served as the general manager of the Bluefield Baseball Club, Inc. for 37 years. Before the arrival of the Orioles in 1957, he was the General Manager for teams of the Red Sox and Braves organizations. Over the years, he assumed the majority of the responsibilities associated with baseball operations, including running the front office, overseeing the concessions and assisting with field maintenance. When player contracts were handled locally, Fanning helped sign major league all-star Boog Powell to his first professional baseball contract.
Dale Ford: Born in Jonesborough, Tennessee, Dale started his professional umpire career in the Appalachian League. Dale worked 25 years as an MLB umpire from 1974 until 1999. He umpired two World Series and three MLB All-Star games. He also worked numerous MLB playoffs and league championships. In addition, Dale served 3 terms in TN House of Representatives and is an Army Veteran. Each year, a top-rated umpire in the Appalachian league receives the Dale Ford Umpire Award.
Bobby Grich: Played for Bluefield in 1967. Won 4 gold gloves, was a 6-time MLB All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award in 1981, when he led the AL in HR. Played in 2008 MLB games with 1833 hits, 1033 runs, 320 2B, 47 3B, 224 HR’s & 104 SB’s. Finished his career with a .266 BA, .424 OBP, 125+ OPS & an 8.3 WAR, the best in AL history. In 1973, led all 2B in fielding % at a .9947 with 5 Errors 509 assists, 431 putouts & 130 DP’s turned and started all 162 games. Member both Angels and Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.
Ron Guidry: Played for Johnson City in 1971. Went 2-2, with 2.11 ERA in 47 IP and 61K. Pitched 14 years in MLB, going170-91 with a career ERA of 3.29 and 26 SHO. 1,778 career Ks. Won Cy Young in 1978, going 25-3. Named MLB player of Year in 1978. Won 5 Gold Gloves and was 4-time MLB All-Star. Won Roberto Clemente Award in 1984. Won 2 ERA titles. New York Yankees retired his #49 and he is a Monument Park honoree at Yankee Stadium.
Lenny Johnston: Lenny was a perennial fixture for the Bluefield Orioles as the first base coach from 1984-2010. While in Bluefield, he was awarded the Herb Armstrong Award for significant contributions to baseball and the Orioles organization. Member of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. Awarded Cal Ripken Sr. award for player development in 2007. Was a mainstay in minor league baseball for 57 years. Coordinated Bluefield’s player appearances and community service projects, with players required to participate in community events every day club was in town.
David Justice: Played for Pulaski in 1985, hitting .245 in 66 games with 10 HR and 46 RBI. Named NL Rookie of the Year in 1990, when he hit .282 with 28 2B, 28 HR and 78 RBI. Justice is a two-time World Series champion, an ALCS MVP in 2000, three-time MLB All-Star, and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame in 2007.
Harold Mains: President of Elizabethton Twins Baseball Commission for 25 Years (1993-2018), serving as team Chaplain entire time. Instrumental in gaining political support needed for facility improvements at Joe O’Brien Field, including an irrigation system, new restrooms, new stadium lighting system, new dugouts and batting cage facility, new stadium drainage system, new outfield wall and stadium fencing and new stadium entrance. Was a fixture at the stadium to fans, scouts, coaches and players as he was known for his hospitality, professionalism and love of the game.
Mike Mains: Served as the General Manager of the Elizabethton Twins for 20 years, from 1999-2018. Named Executive of the Year four times (2001, 2005, 2006, and 2011) and won Appalachian League Promotional Award twice (2003 and 2014). Served several seasons on League Executive Committee, won Appalachian League Community Service Award in 2017. Served as Baseball Chapel Representative and member of the Baseball Chapel Advisory Board for numerous seasons. Oversaw a $2.3 million renovation to the home clubhouse and renovation to umpire’s room and visiting clubhouse.
Dan Moushon: Served as vice president of Burlington Baseball Club, Inc for 23 years (1995-2018). During this time, staff claimed 8 League Executive of the Year Awards and club won Bob Freitas Award for Short Season. Appalachian League corporate secretary from 1995-2001 and on the league's executive committee for several seasons. Began Minor League Baseball career in 1987. Has been involved with clubs in Charleston, SC; Springfield, IL; Watertown, NY; Fayetteville, NC and Butte, MT. In 2018, the Kansas City Royals presented him with the Matt Minker Award for dedication and leadership. On January 1, 2019, he became Appalachian League President.
Dale Murphy: Played for Kingsport in 1974. Played 18 seasons in MLB. Won two NL MVP Awards (1982 & 1983). Named to 7 MLB All-Star Games. Won 4 Silver Slugger Awards and 5 Gold Glove Awards. He has earned several honors because of his integrity, character, and sportsmanship including, Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1985), "Sportsman of the Year" (1987), Roberto Clemente Award (1988), Bart Giamatti Community Service Award (1991), and World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame (1991 Induction). Member of both Oregon and Georgia Sports HOF. Atlanta Braves HOF and his #3 are retired by Atlanta.
Tony Oliva: Played for Wytheville in 1961. Lead all organized baseball with .410 BA. In 249 AB, struck out only 22 times. Played in 64 games, hitting 10 HR with 81 RBI. Year later was in MLB playing for the Minnesota Twins (1962-1976). A member of the Twins initial HOF class in 2000. Had #6 retired by Twins on 7/14/91. Statue unveiled at Target Field on 4/8/11. Eight-time MLB all-star, AL Rookie of the Year in 1964. Gold Glove winner in 1966. 3-time AL Batting Champion. Only on-field team member to appear in all 3 Twins World Series: player on 1965, hitting coach 1987 and bench coach in 1991.
Jim Rantz: Played for Wytheville in 1960. Minnesota Twins Farm Director and Appalachian League Director 1986-2012. Long-time member of league’s Executive Committee. From 1971-1985, he was Twins assistant minor league director. During his career, he developed generations of home-grown players that contributed to the Twins World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Winner of the inaugural Sheldon “Chief” Bender award in 2008 for his distinguished service in player development. Inducted into Minnesota Twins HOF in 2007.
Scott Rolen: Played for Martinsville in 1993. National League Rookie of the Year in 1997. Named to 7 MLB All-Star Games. Won 8 Gold Gloves. Won Silver Slugger Award in 2002. Member of St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame (2019). On June 15, 2011, he became the 4th third baseman ever to have 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs, and 1,200 RBIs, along with Mike Schmidt, George Brett and Chipper Jones.
Jim Saul: Born in Bristol, Virginia, Jim managed Danville to a 41-25 record and first place finish in 2004. Coached Bluefield from 2007-2009 and served on the Board of Bristol Baseball for 2 years. Spent more than 50 years in professional baseball, all but three at the minor-league level. Was an MLB coach with the Chicago Cubs (1975–76) and Oakland Athletics (1979). From 1973-2004, he managed in the Angels, Cubs, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves organizations, including five seasons at the Double-A level.
Lou Whitaker: Played in 42 games for Bristol in 1975. By 1977, was in Detroit playing for Tigers where he remained through 1995. Named American League Rookie of the Year in 1978, hitting .285 with 71 runs and .381 OBP. Five-time MLB All-Star. Won 4 Silver Slugger Awards. Won 3 Gold Gloves. One of only 19 players to hit a baseball over the roof of Tiger Stadium. Detroit Tigers scheduled to retire his #1 at an August 29, 2020 ceremony in Detroit.
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