CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Eric Krupa, President of the South Atlantic League, has announced the members of the Class of 2014 for the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame. The four new inductees will be honored as part of the festivities surrounding the 55th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game, scheduled to be played on June 17, 2014, at L.P. Frans Stadium, home of the Hickory Crawdads.
This year's class certainly has a North Carolina flavor, honoring individuals from Hickory and nearby Rutherford County. Former Hickory Mayor George Murphy will be inducted along with Crawdads minority owners Luther Beaver and Charles Young and former Rome Braves Manager Randy Ingle.
Luther Beaver's love of baseball and sports helped bring baseball to Hickory in 1993. Luther has been an active Minority Owner and Vice President since the day the Crawdads opened. In his retirement, Luther enjoys spending time with his wife, Anne, their two adult children and three grandchildren. Luther will join his brother, Don, to become the first set of siblings to be inducted into the SAL Hall of Fame. Don Beaver, majority owner of the Crawdads, was inducted in 2003.
Randy Ingle has had four stints totaling nine seasons leading the SAL affiliate of the Atlanta Braves (Macon in 1993 and 2001, Rome 2006-2010 and 2012-2013). Ingle, from Forest City, NC, is a former infielder in the Braves organization from 1979-1987 and is in his 23rd season as a manager. In his nine seasons in the SAL, Ingle has amassed 599 wins, which ranks him second in all-time SAL wins. Ingle began his coaching career as a player-coach at Double-A Greenville in 1987 and has amassed 1,343 wins in his 22-year managerial career.
George Murphy began working in baseball as the public address announcer for the Hickory Rebels baseball team from 1946-54. After the Rebels folded in 1960, George spent over 20 years trying to bring baseball back to Hickory. During his successful campaign for mayor in the 1980s, one of his campaign promises was to return professional baseball to Hickory. The effort to build a new stadium began in 1990 as the Frans family provided the anchor gift. The tenant team was then secured when Don Beaver and his ownership group bought the Gastonia franchise and relocated it to Hickory. George Murphy's dream was finally realized as the Crawdads played their first game in Hickory in 1993.
Charles Young is a local Hickory lawyer whose love of baseball helped bring baseball to Hickory in 1993. His hard work and counsel has allowed the Hickory franchise to successfully navigate the changes that have affected the Minor League Baseball industry over the last 20 years. Young recently retired with over 40 years of legal experience and has been an active member of the Crawdads ownership group from the inception of the franchise. When not practicing law, Charles enjoys spending time with his wife, Elaine, and their three adult children and eight grandchildren.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is one of several events scheduled in conjunction with the 55th SAL All-Star Game in Hickory. A downtown Hickory street festival will be held on Monday, June 16th. The Hall of Fame Luncheon is scheduled for June 17th at The Crossing at Hollar Mill in Hickory. The 55th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game at L.P. Frans Stadium on June 17th is scheduled to begin at 7:00pm. More information can be found at www.hickorycrawdads.com.