BELOIT, WI - The memory of George H. Spelius will be respected by the Snappers and the entire Midwest League during the 2017 season with a uniform patch displaying the initials of the departed 28-year League President. The patches will be black with 'GHS' written in white and worn on the sleeve of all regular uniforms. Additionally, the Snappers will also have a tribute in their souvenir program and on an outfield sign at Pohlman Field
George was a driving force to bringing Minor League Baseball to Beloit as one of the original founders of the Beloit Brewers that began play in 1982. He continued to serve on the Board of Directors as he rose through the ranks in the Midwest League office and Minor League Baseball.
He was a pivotal member of the Beloit community and an icon in making the Snappers part of the community.
"George was a familiar face to our fans over the years," says Snappers President Dennis Conerton. "Fans would often sit with him and talk baseball for an inning or two at the park over the past 35 years."
Spelius volunteered for the Beloit Boys Baseball Association and also was an avid booster of high school sports, which he covered as a color commentator for football and basketball games on local radio. George joined the Beloit Floral Co. in 1963 which was founded by his father-in-law, Tom Panos, in 1916. The Beloit Historical Society's Elliott-Perring Sports Hall of Fame presented Spelius with a Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2014.
"Remembering George like this by all 16 teams of the Midwest League is a wonderful tribute to George's significant contributions to the success of the league," says Conerton. "Locally in Beloit, George will always be part of our history as one of the three founders that incorporated our franchise in 1981. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on."
Spelius was elected President of the Midwest League in 1987 after serving as Vice President the year before. He would hold the title of League President until he retired in 2014. He would serve as President Emeritus and Director of Midwest League Umpire Development until his passing. In 2015, the Midwest League Championship Trophy was redesigned and named in his honor.
George was born in Milwaukee and graduated from Waukesha High School in 1952. He played football, baseball, and tennis at Carroll College in Waukesha while earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business. He also served his country in the U.S. Army in Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan from February 1957 to September 1958. He was a catcher for the Camp Zama Ramblers that won the Far East Championship in the summer of 1958.
Spelius passed away in September of 2016 at the age of 83. He is survived by his wife Nancy, his children Mary Foster and H. George, and their spouses Marty and Mindy. H. George and Mindy have two children, Teddy and Nicholas.
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and have been the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics since 2013. Opening Day for the Snappers 36th season is April 6, 2017 at Pohlman Field as the Snappers host the Cedar Rapids Kernels. For tickets, click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.