Multiple Teams · HOOVER BASEBALL NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2020 (40th Edition)

Welcome back Hoover baseball fans! Happy Thanksgiving! With hopes that circumstances surrounding COVID-19 allow, Coach Ashby is making tentative plans for the Hoover varsity baseball team to travel south to the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina next March during spring break (March 29 – April 2). Four regular season games playing out-of-state opponents are in those plans. Initial discussion has taken place to initiate an alumni weekend next April or May. Recognition at a Vikings home game, reception with the current team and a golf outing are part of the event. Stay tuned for details! Later in this newsletter is mention of the kick-off fundraiser back in 1945 for the Memorial Stadium complex including the baseball field. I am reaching out to all of you to gather historical information related to our baseball facility. For starters, interested to find out when the lights no longer were used for games? Secondly, would relish pictures that depict the old wooden bleachers that stretched from dugout to dugout.
Initial Planning For Memorial Stadium – A three-day, house-to-house fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $50,000 was planned by North Canton civic organizations in September of 1945. Plans for the complex included a football field, baseball diamond, lighting for night games, track, seating, memorial gate, locker rooms, showers, storage space under the stands and public restrooms. The entire project was expected to cover 10 acres but the exact site had not been determined but had been narrowed down to two prospective locations. C.W. Studer was head of the campaign committee and encouraged citizens to feel generous when asked to donate. Payments were expected to be completed by mid-December with the complex expected to be ready for use in 1947. At the time, the baseball Vikings called the original Witwer Park home, which was located east of the original Hoover plant with Witwer Street as the northern boundary for the field.
Spring Weather – As the Cleveland Indians lost their 1990 home opener against the New York Yankees to snow the night of April 11th, the Hoover Vikings were able to get their game in earlier in the day with Akron Ellet. Dan Meadows in relief of starting pitcher Scott Rennecker was the winning pitcher in the Vikings 8-3 victory. Matt Chambers hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning and Jim Fernandez went three-for-four with three RBIs to lead the offensive cause. The Indians headed to the new field house at Kent State the day prior for a work out after their game was also postponed by rain.
OHSAA Update – The OHSAA board on October 6th approved a joint proposal from the baseball and softball coaches associations that provides an exception within General Sports Regulation 8 to increase the number of team members permitted to be together to receive individual skill instruction outside of the school season or defined no-contact period. Coaches are now permitted to provide coaching to a maximum of six members of their school team at the same time in all facilities (previously four).
Local Field Facelift – Nearby Indian Valley High School in Gnadenhutten will soon have artificial turf installed on the infield including the batters’ boxes, dirt portion of the infield and the mound. The $160,000 project will be entirely privately funded with completion expected by December. It will become the first synthetic turf playing surface in Tuscarawas County.
Repository Compliment – Repository columnist Jim Weber started his May 1963 column with “if you’re looking for someone to run a tournament for you, try North Canton.” Head baseball coach, Don Hertler, Sr. served as tournament director for both sectional and district baseball competition. Hertler was recognized for overcoming the problem of weather issues. Weber kiddingly wondered how Hertler would complete his baseball tournaments before July due to rainy weather. Hertler is renowned for having monitored tournament games from the back of the wooden bleachers at Memorial Stadium.
As always, Go Vikings!
Craig Haueter (, (330) 936-1695