Board Member Bios
Dave has his entire professional career as a sports journalist. As the sports editor of newspapers in Maryland, South Carolina, Connecticut, California and Tennessee, he's covered a wide array of sports from the NFL to the NHL, from Little League to the Olympics.
He was born and raised in Maryland, and can't recall a day when he did not cheer for his beloved Baltimore Orioles.In his first job as a sports writer, he got the opportunity to cover the Orioles.
"It was a dream come true as I sat in the press box and watched the Orioles beat the Phillies in the 1983 World Series. I was only 21 and in heaven. I would have never guessed that they would not return again."
He has covered thousands of Major League Baseball games (including the Orioles, the Yankees, the Mets, the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Angels and the Padres). He has also written many stories on minor-league teams, including the Nashville Sounds.
Sports editor & columnist for Nashville's largest media, The Tennesean and Gannett, he is a veteran member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, with rights to vote in the annual Baseball Hall of Fame balloting. Dave lives in Mount Juliet with my wife, Maura, and children Ryan and Kathleen.
Jerry was born in Madison, Tennessee, and was an all-around athlete at DuPont High School. He enjoyed playing baseball most, but he was a prolific scorer for the Bulldogs on the hardwood. Playing American Legion ball for Post 82 in 1965 and 1966, his team played in the 1966 American Legion World Series in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
He played baseball and basketball at Belmont from 1965-1967, and was an All-VSAC player. He transferred to Southwestern (now Rhodes) in Memphis and played both sports for another season before turning pro.
Scout Bill Clark had heard about him, and hoping to see what Jerry could do, took a wrong turn in Nashville traffic and missed a meeting they had set up. Clark tells how they finally were able to meet.
“When I finally found a pay phone (cell phones were unknown then), Jerry accepted my apology and suggested we go on with the workout.
“Where?” I asked. “The street light down the block at the corner is pretty bright,” he replied. I was flabbergasted.
"Jerry Bell really looked quick under that street light. Tall and loose, he looked like a top prospect. Maybe I should have signed the catcher, too, after catching Jerry in that half-light. How hard did he throw? Who knows. No one had radar guns. But it was hard enough.”
The 6’4”, 190-lb. right hander impressed Clark, and Jerry signed with the Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers) after being drafted in the second round of the 1969 amateur draft. The Pilots would last only one season in Seattle, but he remained in the newly-named Brewers' minor league system with stops in Newark (NYPL – Class A, short season), Clinton (Midwest League – Class A), Raleigh-Durham (Carolina League – Class A), and Evansville (American Association – Class AAA) before making his first major-league appearance.
His debut occurred on September 6, 1971, as the 23-year-old faced the Kansas City Royals. Jerry allowed one hit, walked two, and gave up an earned run in 1/1/3 innings. He appeared in eight games for the Brewers that season as a reliever, pitching for 14 2/3 innings while striking out eight, walking six, and accumulated a 2-1 record with a 3.07 ERA.
He pitched for Milwaukee for three more seasons, in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In four seasons with the Brewers, Bell compiled a 17-11 record, and his career 3.28 ERA ranks him seventh all-time among Brewers pitchers with at least 250 career innings pitched.
“Used mostly in relief, his best year came in 1973 when he was 9-9 in 183 innings. He was injured early in 1974 and never returned to the big leagues. Jerry was a groundball pitcher who fanned only 57 in those 183 innings,” says Clark.
Currently the assistant American Legion baseball chairman in Tennessee, Jerry serves as an assistant coach at Lebanon High School. He has been pitching coach for the Nashville Outlaws of the college Prospect League, and has served as a private instructor. He and his wife Susan reside in Mt. Juliet.
A 1956 graduate of East High School, Ed attended Glenn, Caldwell, and Highland Heights schools. For two years at East beginning in 1955, his position was third base although he sometimes played second. Most of the East home games were played at Shelby Park where his teammates included Billy Smith and Jerry Vradenburg, and he often played against Gene Smith, Bob Tillman, and Jimmy Stephens.
Ed also played some games at Shelby for the Bakertown team in the Babe Ruth League. Perk Williams was coaching the team and invited Ed to play for the team while other players were out of town. Jim Forkum and Tony Hood also played on that team.
“Jim Morrisey saved my life one time in a game at Shelby. As I was heading from third to home he cut off a pitch which allowed me to score.
“I also remember playing in a game in Burns, Tennessee for Patterson Motors. East’s Jim Stephens was pitching and I got five hits off him.”
Later Ed would play in a Larry Gilbert League All Star Game at Sulphur Dell as a representative of the Youth, Inc. team coached by Tom Keysaer. When an assistant coach was out, Ed was called on to coach first base by Keysaer on the Nolensville Civitan team.
Not only did Ed see games at Sulphur Dell where some of his favorite players were Carl Sawatski, Hal Quick, Bob Borkowski, Babe Barna, Buster Boguskie, and Dusty Rhodes, he once attended a game there and caught a foul ball. He was not wearing a glove, either.
After school, instead of being drafted Ed joined the Army Reserves where he spent six or seven years. Early in his career he worked for Pittsburgh Glass, working for $1.05 an hour, and later Simmons Glass Company where he later became co-owner and president. The location for Simmons was at 5th Ave. and Jackson St. across the street from the left field line at Sulphur Dell. Ed spent almost 40 years in the glass business.
Ed was the first person to purchase a season ticket for Nashville Sounds games when the team began playing at Greer Stadium in 1978 according to Farrell Owens, the first Sounds general manager.
A graduate of Antioch High School in 1980, Tommy remembers playing Little League as an 8- and 9-year old and Dixie Youth beginning when he was ten.
Drafted in the 20th round of the draft, Tommy signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1980 and his first minor league assignment was to Elmira in the New York-Pennsylvania League. There he finished the season 6-2 with a 2.41 ERA.
In Winter Haven for two years following, Tommy spent seasons with New Britain and Pawtucket while spending time with the major league team at Fenway Park beginning with the 1987 season.
Tommy’s best season with the Red Sox was in 1990 when he was 10-5 with a 3.38 ERA.
He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1992 for Billy Hatcher and signed with the Detroit Tigers for the 1993 season and finished his professional career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1994.
Special teammates included Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, and Cal Ripken, Jr.
“I was very fortunate to call Fenway Park “home” for five years. Tiger Stadium in Detroit was a great park to pitch in, too, when playing for the Tigers in 1993.”
Tommy enjoys being a member of the Old Timers board: “It has always been a special group that is generous with their time, trying to keep baseball alive for tomorrow’s youth”. Former teammates Charlie and John Mitchell and Reggie Whittemore are fellow members of the Old Timers board of directors.
Speaking of his local baseball roots, baseball also holds another special place in his memories. Tommy served as coach with the Nashville Sounds in 1998.
“When pro baseball came back to Nashville in 1978 I was in high school. It was awesome to go to Greer Stadium with your buddies, and who could forget “Kroger Nights” and the fans on the warning track!”
Tommy is married to the former Diane Jones from Latham, New York. They have three children: Kevin who attends Auburn; Eric, who attends the University of North Alabama, and Kelly, who attends Columbia State.
A Nashville attorney, Randy owns his law practice, Bostic Law. He also teaches in the College of Business at Lipscomb University.
“My focus is to help people and families with their financial planning and asset protection, including wills, estates, and trust and probate law.”
Born in New Orleans and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, he went to Lipscomb University to play baseball, but injured his arm during his freshman year. That put an end to his pitching, but he was offered the opportunity to be a student-coach by Bisons head coach Ken Dugan.
Following graduation, Randy went to Harding as an assistant coach and then to Memphis for law school.
He and his wife, Amanda, reside in Nashville with their children Reid and Kayleigh. He has his goal of completing his fifth Ironman competition in 2017.
Born and raised in Old Hickory, Lamar has lived in Old Hickory and Hermitage all his life. A graduate of DuPont High School, he graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Physical Science and Education. He worked for Metro Nashville Air Pollution Control for two years, then worked for the state of Tennessee in the Department of Environment and Conservation for 40 years, retiring in 2016 with 41 years of State service.
He always enjoyed playing baseball, but feels he was much better at softball and loved to play church softball and for work teams. He continues his interest in baseball through something he learned as a youngster: collecting cards and autographs.
“My first autographs were in 1964 when Ken Boyer, Clete Boyer, and Tim McCarver made an appearance at the old Zayre’s department store on Murfreesboro Road. My Dad took me to meet the players and get autographs. The Cardinals had won the World Series and it was cool to see the players. I had nothing for them to sign, but they had paper 8x10s that they signed and handed out. I have no idea where those things got to, but I no longer have them.
“In the late 1970’s I started writing Hall of Fame players in care of the Hall of Fame back in the days when they would forward fan mail. When the Sounds started in Nashville, I went to my first Sounds game in 1979 and began collecting autographs at the park. I also purchased address books in the 1980’s and wrote a lot of players. I also encountered other autograph collectors and corresponded and bought, sold and traded through the mail for many years. I collected seriously at Greer Stadium all through the 1980s and 90s, making numerous road trips to Huntsville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis for games and autograph opportunities.
“I collected seriously at the park until about 2013 when the chase just got to be too much for me. When it seemed more like a job, I knew it was time to “retire” from collecting at the park. I still love collecting autographs and continue to do so but tend to be more selective in who I go after. I am probably more active in autograph collecting (or as it is now- the autograph business) as ever these days, but just through internet venues.”
He believes he attended his first Old Timers banquet in 1978 at the Nashville Fairgrounds when Lefty Gomez was speaker.
Lamar has been a member of the Church of the Nazarene all his life and I has taught a Sunday School class for about 50 years. A member of the Nashville Chapter of The Compassionate Friends (a support group for bereaved parents) since 1992, he and his wife Joy served as Chapter Leaders for seven years.
“Joy doesn’t share my passion for autograph collecting, but that’s okay, too.”
Married for over 47 years Joy and Lamar are both retired. They have three children, two daughters and a son who passed away in 1992. Their four grandchildren range in age from nine to 20.
A retired major-league pitcher, Keith Brown was born in Flagstaff, Arizona. He played shortstop and third base at Central Valley High School in Shasta Lake, California, but turned to pitching in college, first at the College of the Siskiyous before moving to Cal State-Sacramento.
Keith was drafted by Cincinnati in the 21st round of the 1986 MLB June Amateur Draft. He played his first professional season with Reds Rookie league teams, the Gulf Coast Reds and Billings Mustangs, and Cincinnati’s Double-A Vermont Reds in 1986.
He spent the entire 1987 season with Cedar Rapids in the Class-A Midwest League, where he was 13-4 with an impressive 1.59 ERA. Assigned to Chattanooga (Southern League, Class AA) for 1988, on June 15 he improved to 9-1 with an ERA of 1.42 in a 3-1 victory over Birmingham, earning a promotion to Nashville (American Association – Class AAA). In 12 games with the Sounds he won 6 and lost 3, but retained his low-runs allowed performance with a 1.90 ERA.
A late-season call up by the Reds, he won his major-league debut against the St. Louis Cardinals at Riverfront Stadium on August 25. Keith allowed only four hits and one run, a bases-empty homer by McGee in the sixth inning. Keith would appear in three additional games to end the season, finishing 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA.
With Nashville during the entire 1989 season, he was 8-13 with a 4.80 ERA. In 1990 he began the year with the Sounds, but appeared in eight games with the Reds as a reliever. This pattern continued for two more years, pitching his last game in a losing cause for Cincinnati on July 11, 1992 against Pittsburgh. He was granted Free Agency by Cincinnati on October 16, 1992.
Signing with Kansas City for 1993, he was hopeful of a call up by the Royals. Despite a first-half record of 11-1 at Omaha (American Association - Class AAA), the call did not come. Soon after, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He played out the season while receiving treatment and chemotherapy, and later his doctors recommended a full bone marrow transplant. He did not play in 1994.
His last season was a brief stint with the Charlotte Knights (International League – Class AAA) in 1995; he played in four games for the Florida Marlins farm club. Assigned to AAA Charlotte with the Marlins, Brown played in four games, ending his career.
His playing days finished, he enjoys speaking about his experiences to church groups and other organizations. Keith and his wife Renay live in Old Hickory.
Renay is a native Nashvillian and married board member Keith Brown in 2008. She graduated from DuPont High School and received an accounting degree from Lipscomb University.
Having served as vice-president and Private Client Specialist/Business Banker in for First Tennesse Bank in Wilson County from 2002 until 2012, she now works for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as an accountant.
“I began my love of baseball when I was very young. My family traveled from Nashville each summer to Atlanta, St. Louis and Cincinnati to watch a major-league baseball game and visit their amusement parks. I began to follow the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves while in high school and college. Our family also attended many Nashville Sounds games beginning in 1978. I have two sons, Matthew and Brandon who began to play baseball at the age of 4. To say I have attended a few baseball games in my life, would be an understatement!
“Keith and I actually had our first date at Greer Stadium and renewed our vows as part of the Nashville Sounds final season at Greer. Keith was a member of the Nashville Sounds from 1988 until 1992 where he still holds numerous records for most wins (2nd), most starts (2nd), and held the number one position of most innings pitched until surpassed in 2014 by Tim Dillard.
“Each year we travel for a week to attend Spring Training games either in Arizona or Florida. This is my favorite time to attend major league baseball games. The fans and players alike are so excited to see what the new season holds and some are even competing for the right to play a specific position on the team. The fans are also allowed a “closer” view of the players and the feeling in the clubhouse and on the field seems much more relaxed.”
She has worked with several organizations in the past, once serving on the board at The Hermitage, Economic and Community Development Committee for the City of Mt. Juliet, Women in Business in Wilson County, West Wilson Exchange Club, and Ambassador for the Mt Juliet Chamber of Commerce. Renay has volunteered at Safe Haven and several metro Nashville public schools as a teacher’s aide, Pencil Partner representative, and the Pujols Family Foundation.
Renay and Keith reside in Old Hickory.
Lee is a native of Hohenwald, Tennessee, and was a star athlete at Lewis County High School and Freed-Hardeman University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1997. Captain of the team during his sophomore, junior, and senior years at FHU, in his senior season the Lions won 20 games for the first time in school history as he averaged 14.7 points per game.
Lee was inducted into the FHU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
He has been working in the investment management business since 1996, beginning in the Trust department of First American Bank in Nashville, For the last 19 years he has been with Morgan Stanley/ Smith Barney. He also owns Safe Storage and Go Minis of middle Tennessee.
In 2008, Lee became a board member of the Crieve Hall Youth Athletic Association, where he is an active coach. His teams have won eight state championships and two World Series’ between 2010-2016. Elected president of the league in 2010, under his leadership the program has grown from 285 participants to over 700 projected in Spring of 2017. He serves on several other civic and nonprofit organizational boards.
Lee lives is Brentwood, with his wife Cayce and their four children, Bo, Frances, Gray and Ty.
Originally from Macon, Georgia, Morgan moved to Tennessee in 1999 to attend Sewanee, The University of the South, where he played one year of football alongside his brother at linebacker. Moving to the rugby team the following year, he served as captain during his senior year.
Graduating in 2003 with a BA in political science and a minor in anthropology, Morgan decided to move to Nashville where he continued to play and coach rugby for a few years following graduation before hanging up his cleats up for good in 2008.
Morgan was hired as a teller by Capital Bank & Trust, moving into the loan department as a lending assistant in 2004 and later managing the Special Assets department.
When Capital Bank & Trust merged with Renasant Bank in 2007 he was named Branch Sales Manager at the Goodlettsville location where he focused on branch management, loan and deposit production, and community development. Morgan also became Assistant Vice President and Business Development Officer in Renasant's Hendersonville office.
In 2013 Morgan moved to Capstar Bank, then Small Business Development officer with Bank of America, and now lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Although he played football and rugby, his first love will always be baseball. Sharing an enthusiastic love for the game with his father was not deterred when he stopped playing at age 16, as his athletic talents were better utilized in other sports. However, his interest and support has always been with baseball.
A Red Sox fan even before recent World Series championships, Morgan is a life-long collector with items that date back to the 1800s. His hobby is collecting and learning as much as he can about the game’s history. He attends baseball functions and card shows whenever time will allow.
Baseball is a sport that he has shared with his family his entire life, and Morgan continues to share it with his community with hopes that the spirit of baseball that is alive in Nashville will to begin a similar organization in Winston-Salem.
An active member of Parkway Baptist Church, Joe Casey served all ranks of the Police Department before becoming Chief in 1973, serving in that position for 16 years until 1989.
Joe attended North High School where he lettered in six sports and was named to the All City Baseball team in 1945 and 1946, the only unanimous choice. His pitching record for those two years was 21 wins and 1 loss with five no-hitters. Most of his wins were shutouts and his one loss was to Hume-Fogg by a 1-0 score.
During one of his no-hitters against Father Ryan, he won 4-0 by retiring 20 consecutive batters and striking out 18. After the game, the late Edgar Allen wrote in the Nashville Banner that it was the most dominating pitching performance he had ever witnessed.
Joe also played in amateur leagues for CMI under Tom Page.
Signed to a professional contract after high school, he played for Clarksville (1946) and Owensboro (1947) in the Class D Kitty League, Hartford in the Class A Eastern League (1948-49), Denver in the Class A Western League (1949-50).
In 1951 Casey pitched for DuPont, which captured the City League championship, and beginning in 1952 managed Johnny Beazley’s Falstaff’s City League team for four years while also pitching.
Joe joined the Nashville Police Department in 1951 and that year the Police team became a charter member of the Babe Ruth League in Nashville. Joe managed the team from the mid-1950s until 1962.
In 1959 he coached the Babe Ruth All Star team to the World Tournament in Stockton, California. It was the first Nashville amateur baseball team to compete for a national championship. Fellow Old Timers member Billy Griggs was a member of that team.
A basketball official for 23 years at the junior high, high school, and college level, Joe Casey was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in the Officials category in 2008.
In 2009 Joe was named as the Old Timers Nashville Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame recipient.
He was married for 64 years to the former Jewell Anderton, recently deceased, and they have five children, Starr Casey Herrman, Minka Casey Perry, Karen Casey Torr, Mike Casey, and Lynn Casey (deceased).
Larry Cole enrolled as a student in Tennessee State University after graduating from Springfield's Bransford High School in 1963. At TSU, Larry was an active member of the TSU baseball team from 1964-1967 as a third baseman. During that time he led the team in hitting in 1966 and served as the team Captain in 1967. Larry graduated from Tennessee State University in 1968 with a Bachelors degree in Health and Recreation.
Larry was a member of two Capital City League teams, Tennessee Pride Sausage and Pabst Jets, winning championships two different years. He was second in batting in the Tri-State League for two years and once came in fourth. Additionally, Larry was selected as a member of the All-Star team.
Larry served as TSU’s assistant Baseball Coach from 1977-1983. During that time, 18 of the TSU baseball recruits were drafted and signed Major League baseball contracts. In 1988, Larry was honored for his contributions to baseball as a player by being inducted into the Tennessee State University Athletic Hall of Fame.
He is active in his church, Larry has served as chair of the Deacon Board at Progressive Baptist. He has also been active within the Nashville community coaching youth summer baseball leagues in a variety of age groups for more than 20 years. In addition, he often provides one-on-one baseball coaching in support of helping players improve their techniques.
He gives credit to his father, Eulas Cole, Louis Jamison, Alan Robertson, and Tennessee State coach Sam Whitmon as positive influences in his life. Larry is retired from Metro Health Department.
Larry was inducted into the Old Timers Nashville Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. His family includes his wife, Mrs. Toney Cole, their daughter, Kimya, and son, Kahil and daughter-in-law Nicole.
He has this to say about Old Timers: "God's great men coming together to make a difference; we give so much. To me, it's a breath of fresh air to be an Old Timer. The objective is to help, no matter who or where, to make sure this great game continues. We are a brotherhood."
Chip Cruze is owner and operator of Nashville Baseball Academy. He was recently selected by the Old Timers board of directors to become vice president. and will assume the office of president in 2020. He is passionate about teaching the game and providing opportunities to those who want to learn the game.
“I'm blessed at NBA to have an outstanding staff of dedicated and knowledgeable trainers who share my passion, including fellow Old Timers member and former major-league pitcher, Tommy Bolton.”
For over 16 years and continuing, Chip has been on the Board of Crieve Hall Baseball, and has previously served as president of the organization for four years. Lee Burklow, another member of the Old Timers board, has worked with Chip through Crieve Hall baseball for the last eight years.
Through Nashville Baseball Academy, Chip has sponsored local sandlot teams which are regular participants in tournaments in the area, including the Old Timers complex at Shelby Park. For 20 years, he has coached teams ranging from 4 to 16 years old.
Chip has a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication/Journalism, a Masters degree in Human Resources Management, the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) designation from the Society of Human Resources Management, and is a certificated Rule 31 Mediator in the state of Tennessee.
He is also a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Before beginning NBA, he worked for American Retirement Corporation and Service Merchandise. He attended Lipscomb University, and has been a resident of Nashville for 30 years.
Gary played on the baseball team at Springfield High School from 1975-1978, and attended David Lipscomb College from 1978-1982.
At Lipscomb Gary was awarded the Richard Case Award, the highest honor awarded, presented to him by Bison head coach Ken Dugan. He was a 4-year letterman as manager of the team and was part of the 1979 national championship team.
The summer before his senior year in 1981, he was hired by Farrell Owens, general manager of the Nashville Sounds, to be the visiting club house man.
“There is a picture taken at the Old Timers game in 1981 at Greer Stadium that hangs in the Junie McBride board room at Shelby Park.
“It is a special memory for me, as I was the club house manager that night and met so many former ball players.”
Upon graduation, Gary became a full-time employee of the club in charge of souvenirs, a position he held until 1984.
Between 1984 and 2002 Gary dedicated his time to coaching amateur youth teams and assisting the Springfield High School baseball team.
He became an Old Timers board member in 1998 and continues to support the Springfield teams.
A 1966 graduate of Antioch High School and Belmont College in 1970, Jim played baseball for Antioch for four years where he was named to the Tennessean All City Second Team and Honorable Mention All City by the Nashville Banner. He played for Belmont for one year.
His amateur career included Little League baseball for VFW in 1958, Capital Cleaners in Knot Hole in 1959 and Tusculum Pharmacy in 1960. In the Babe Ruth League, Jim was a member of the Madison Civitans team in 1962 and 1963, and the next year moved to American Legion ball to play for Neal Construction/Post 105.
After playing for Antioch in the Connie Mack League in 1965, Boys Club in the Larry Gilbert League in 1966 and 1967, Jim was out of baseball until 1971 when he resurrected his amateur career with Nolensville in the Tri-State League, a tenure that lasted two years. He then began coaching Babe Ruth League ball in Madison, and kids softball from 1984 through 1986.
Jim remembers playing games at Shelby Park, Centennial Park, Morgan Park, Cleveland Park, Sulphur Dell, and various high school diamonds between 1963 and 1966.
“I have many memorable teammates, especially from high school,” Jim says, “but I have great memories of my father taking me to Sulphur Dell and watching the Nashville Vols when they were affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds and later the Los Angeles Angels.
“Seeing Jim Maloney and Jim O'Toole pitch were special memories, and my brother-in-law, Gene Menees, played for the Sounds in 1978-1979. I spent two years at Greer Stadium, attending almost every night, watching him play."
Baseball holds a special place in Jim’s life and his family's history. Several members of his and his wife's family played baseball for many years locally and professionally.
“My uncle was on the first All City Baseball team while playing at Donelson in 1935 and was 9-0 as a pitcher. My father signed professionally with the Pittsburgh Pirates and played minor league ball in Hutchinson, Kansas.
“My two brothers and I played together at Antioch High and there was a Forkum on the baseball team there from 1963 through 1968. My wife's brother, Gene Menees, played locally at Madison High School, Vanderbilt University and professionally with the San Diego, Cincinnati and the Mets organizations.”
Retired from State Farm, he has served as a Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County councilman. After serving as President of the Old Timers Baseball Association between 2013-2014, Jim has an appreciation of what the group members have to offer.
“I appreciate the opportunity to meet regularly with such a great group of men who come together for one purpose, to promote baseball. I especially enjoy participating in the process of choosing candidates and recognizing high school scholarship winners. The golf tournament and annual banquet provide opportunities to see old friends and meet so many people who love baseball. The board consists of a great bunch of people, all there because they love the game of baseball.”
At the age of ten Billy began playing in the Nashville Little League for Morehead Tree Surgery and Dixie Block and was an All Star all three years.
Billy played for East YMCA in the Babe Ruth League, coached by Bill Ezell, and made the All Star team two years. The 1959 All Star team, coached by Joe Casey, went to the Babe Ruth World Series in Stockton, California.
In the Larry Gilbert League, Billy was a two-time All Star playing for Nashville Bridge Company where he was coached by former major league player George Archie.
Signed to a baseball scholarship at David Lipscomb College, Billy was selected as All Conference at short stop in 1963. After graduation, he played four more years in the City League for Falstaff, Nauta-line, Hester Battery, and Nashville Sporting Goods.
It was during his City League years that Billy began coaching local teams. He led four of his teams to the Babe Ruth League World Series, finishing third once, second-place twice, and won a National Championship.
He was one of the original owners of the Nashville Sounds when the team began playing in 1978, which led to ownership in the Greensboro Hornets and Nashville South Stars hockey team.
Billy is a member of the Nashville Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, an award given by the Old Timers organization based upon ability, longevity, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contribution to their team and the game of baseball.
Serving on the Old Timers Executive and Scholarship Committees, Billy also co-chairs the Golf Committee which organizes the group's successful annual golf tournament.
A graduate of Cumberland High School, Billy and his wife Carol reside in Goodlettsville and have two children and two grandchildren.
Mickey Hiter is currently heavily involved in amateur baseball as an administrator on the local and national level. He is president of SANDLOTT Baseball, an organization he founded in 1999 that sanctions and administers elite youth baseball travel leagues and tournaments.
Between 1987 and 2002 his youth baseball teams won over 500 games, played in 6 World Series, and in 1998 won the NABF High School Division World Championship. More than 50 players Hiter has coached have gone on to play college or professional baseball.
As a player, Mickey played at the Babe Ruth and Connie Mack levels. At Antioch High School he was named the team MVP and earned second team All-City honors.
He played at Lipscomb University and served as an instructor in several of baseball coach Ken Dugan's camps.
While playing for Nauta-Line in the Tri-State League, Mickey was an All Star catcher and played on the same team his father Wayne Hiter. A player-coach for Twitty City Hallmark, Mickey played some games with his son Nick who went on to play four years of professional baseball.
One of his most cherished accomplishments is to have driven in both his father and son in an organized baseball league.
Hiter has served as President of the Old Timers Baseball Association and was honored with the organization’s "Mr. Baseball" award in 2002 for his contributions to amateur baseball.
In 1999 Hiter took over management of the Old Timers Baseball Facility in Shelby Park which has become the operation base for SANDLOTT Baseball. He currently is overseeing the addition of a second ball field in the expansion of facilities.
Prior to entering baseball full time, Mickey was a musician, songwriter, music publisher and record producer for 20 years. He and his wife Janice have two children, Nick Hiter and Nicole Hiter Blue, and are grandparents to Ethan Hiter and Mia Blue.
A four-year starter on the Hillsboro High School baseball team, Nick Hiter was selected to the All-District and All-Region teams his junior and senior years. He also served as team captain at Hillsboro.
Nick played summer league ball for the elite Twitty City Hallmark team. Winning nine league and eight state championships between 1987 and 2002, that team also captured six regional championships and played in six World Series tournaments.
In 1998 Twitty City Hallmark won the NABF High School Division World Championship.
Nick received a scholarship to Trevecca Nazarene University where he was a four-year starting catcher. In 2003 he led all college catchers by throwing out 30-42 (71%) of would-be base stealers.
Nick played in the SANDLOTT Wood Bat League for the Twitty Birds and was named the league MVP in 2001.
Nick began his professional playing career in 2003 with the Kenosha Mammoths of the Frontier League, and went to spring camp with scouts of the Florida Marlins in 2004. Nick was sent to the New Haven County Cutters of the CANAM League where he played the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Traded in the offseason to the Frontier League’s Florence Freedom for 2006, he was acquired in a midseason trade by the Edmonton Cracker-Cats of Northern League. Nick unofficially retired from the game of baseball during the 2007 season to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.
Nick is proud of having made only three errors in his professional career.
Nick received his degree from Trevecca Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in the field of Communications. Nick is certified as a "Specialist In Sports Conditioning" with the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), and served as the strength coach and assistant baseball coach at Page High School for 2 seasons.
Nick worked hand-in-hand with the likes of renowned speed coach Matt Poe and Baptist Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Damon Petty. Nick was quoted in "The New York Times" by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Jere' Longman for his knowledge on Tommy John surgery and has worked with over 1,000 athletes.
After five years in the hospitality management industry, Nick returned to baseball full time joining father Mickey as the Vice President of Business Development of SANDLOTT Sports. A licensed agent for US Health Advisors, Nick also does small business and hospitality based consulting.
Nick recently assumed the office of president of the Old Timers, and will preside over the board of directors for a two-year term. He resides in Nashville with Rhiannon and their son Ethan, born July 6, 2009.
Known by most of his friends and associates as “Spike”, Stephen F. Hupka, Jr. was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee. After military transfers to Florida, Indiana and Washington D.C., his family moved to the Belmont area of Nashville in 1953.
Active in various youth groups in school, Spike attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 1956.
Spike played Little League ball at Ft. Negley for the Morehead Tree Surgery and Dixie Block teams, and in the Babe Ruth league at West High School. In the Larry Gilbert League, he played for Coca Cola where games were played in all of the local city parks, and was with Post 82 in American Legion ball.
During his high school years at Montgomery Bell Academy he earned eight varsity letters in football, baseball and basketball. Spike attended the University of Tennessee, and played on the freshman baseball team until an injury ended his career.
Active in baseball for the most part of his life, one of Spike’s highlights is participating in the 1959 Babe Ruth World Series in Stockton, California. As a coach, in 1981 Spike’s team won the Dixie Youth World Series at Bartow, Florida.
Spike’s Babe Ruth career has spanned over thirty-five years. He was a player for three years, coach for fourteen years, and district and state commissioner for over eighteen years.
He currently serves as a member of the Babe Ruth League, Inc. International Board of Directors. Spike has been a task force member at sixteen World Series tournaments and director for over twenty regional tournaments.
His son Jim played in the 1983 Babe Ruth World Series in Niles, Michigan.
In 1964 Spike married Jody Eanes. They have two children, Melissa and Jim, and are proud grandparents to Kara and Hayden.
Spike retired from the Kroger Company after thirty years of service and now devotes most of his time to Babe Ruth Baseball when he’s not playing golf, his favorite hobby.
Dave serves as head baseball coach at Belmont University. Previously having been head coach at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, his career record is 882-649-2.
As starting catcher and captain of Arkansas State, he earned his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in education. He served as head coach at Three Rivers Community College from 1985-93, where his record was 324-152 and earned a No. 4 ranking in 1992. Selected as Coach of the Year for the Midwest Community College Athletic Conference on three occasions, he also was named Coach of the Year for women’s basketball.
His first Division I coaching opportunity came in 1993 as an assistant at Murray State before being named head coach at Belmont in the first year of the Bruins’ Division I membership. In 20 years at the helm, his clubs are 558-497-2 with three conference championships and a pair NCAA tournament berths in 2011 and 2012.
In 2011 Dave was named TBCA College Coach of the Year.
A resident of Franklin, Tennessee, he is the father of three sons, Jordan, Logan (who plays for his father at Belmont), and Jackson.
If anyone in the Nashville baseball community could be known as a baseball “lifer”, it is Bart Leathers. Playing in local Knot Hole, Little League, Babe Ruth, and Larry Gilbert leagues in his youth were merely stepping stones to his love affair with the game. He returned that love to Nashville’s youth by coaching in the Bellevue Little League in 1986, Lipscomb-Green Hills Babe Ruth League from 1988 to 1999, and the Harding Academy Middle School baseball team in 1995 and 1996. He also has umpired in amateur leagues as well as high school, JUCO, NAIA, and NCAA games.
He played football at Stratford High School and was on the inaugural baseball team as a junior in 1967 and played again his senior year. Bart graduated from Vanderbilt University and received his Juris Doctor degree from Nashville School of Law.
In 2000 he began playing with and coaching 18-and-up players in the Middle Tennessee Adult Baseball Association. In 2005 he coached and played in the 35-and-up division. Bart has played for the Nashville Pirates, Tennessee Dirtbags, and Nashville Cardinals. In 2013 Bart was inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame of Roy Hobbs Baseball, a national organization for adult baseball.
Bart’s earliest baseball memory is when his father took him to Sulphur Dell for his first game at the age of five. His dad chased a home run ball down for him.
He holds high regard for former Negro Leaguer Butch McCord who urged him to research the location of Tom Wilson Park, the long-gone home of the Nashville Elite Giants. Bart assisted in drafting the language for the historical plaque commemorating the site.
“Butch was a little-known Nashville treasure. He was there at the end of the Negro Leagues and during the early years of integration of the minor leagues and was one of the best ever in the minors. He probably was a victim of numbers and never made it above AAA.”
Bart became a member of the Old Timers organization after Butch McCord passed away, but their principles are similar.
“The Old Timers is much more than the sum of its parts: it’s folks who have the mental library of the history of baseball in Nashville and middle Tennessee, who are some of the best ball players ever in the area, who may never have played the game but came to love it, who are current and former coaches from the professional level down to t-ball.
“There is a common thread that runs through each of us. It is the love of the game and all it offers: the experience, the friendship bonds, the competition, and the life lessons.
“Yet it is even more: It gives us a vehicle to, in a very small way, give something back to the game that means so much to each of us. We support youth baseball, we help others provide better fields and facilities, and perhaps best of all, we help players who might not otherwise have the opportunity or the chance to continue their education beyond high school.
In March of 2015 Bart began t two-year term as president of the Old Timers organization. He is retired as an attorney but works at Hit After Hit on occasion when not playing baseball. He and has 2 daughters and one son, and with his wife Marilyn together they have eight grandchildren.
James Harold Martin
Playing for Woodbine Chamber of Commerce in the VFW Junior League, on July 22, 1948 James Harold threw a no-hitter against Youth, Inc. It was not the only time he held the opposing team without a hit.
“I had four no-hitters and struck out the first 18 batters for Sealtest in one Larry Gilbert League game,” he recalls, reminiscing on his career and one very special season. “I played until I was 36, mostly as a pitcher.”
He attended Nashville’s Turner Elementary School, where his baseball career began as a 13-year-old. He played in the VFW, Old Timers, and Larry Gilbert youth leagues, and later in the City and Capitol leagues after a four-year stint in the Army.
In 1949 he was named second team Nashville Tennessean All Eastern Second Team as a pitcher for Central High School. He also played two years while serving during the Korean War, and attended UT-Nashville for two years.
He remembers playing for coaches Gene Graves and Homer Moore in the Old Timers League, Buford Higgs in the Gilbert League, and Ray Cartwright and Simon Dickerson in City League. Parks he played in include Coleman, Shelby, Morgan, Centennial, and Sulphur Dell.
Memories of attending games at Nashville’s historic park include the many Nashville Vols players who came through town, and he has enjoyed supporting the Nashville Sounds, especially during their tenure at Herschel Greer Stadium.
He served as president of Old Timers in 1979-1980, and is proud of what the organization means to so many.
“As our creed says, ‘to enjoy the fellowship and support the game of baseball’. The first Old Timers meeting I attended was in 1948, and I only missed when I was in the Army. Besides those few years, I am proud to have attended all the others since that time.
James Harold resides in Brentwood.
Born on June 24, 1962, Charlie grew up on Hasty Drive where his mother still lives. He attended Tusculum Elementary (“the driest field in Nashville when it rained”), McMurray Junior High, John Overton High School, and Columbia State Community College.
Before Tusculum Esso, Charlie played for the Pee Wee Cardinals in a “kid-pitch” league from the age of five to eight. He and Doug Paschal were battery mates; Charlie was the catcher.
Charlie played in local amateur leagues throughout his school days: 13-15 Junior Babe Ruth for The Competitor (coached by Jim Cunningham), 16-18 Connie Mack (Jack Lavender was his manager), and as a 19-year-old with Shoetiques and George Ogilvie. That team was the World Series runner-up.
An All-NIL selection in 1979 and 1980 while attending Overton, the 6’3” right-hander remembers losing in the district tournament to Antioch.
“Antioch beat us and went on to win the State tournament in 1979. Tommy Bolton and Doug Paschal were the main reasons why.”
In 1981 Charlie had a 9-0 pitching record for Columbia State, and was 12-0 the next year until losing in the opening game of the 1982 Junior College World Series to Umpkua Community College from Roseburg, Oregon. Selected as a Junior College All-American, Charlie was joined on that team by future Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.
A fourth-round selection by the Boston Red Sox, Charlie signed a professional contract and was sent to Elmira, a Class-A team in the NY-Penn League. Subsequent stops included New Britain (AA-Eastern League, 2-4, 2.88 ERA) and Pawtucket (AAA-International League, 10-4, 2.11 ERA). As a closer for Pawtucket, Charlie was selected as the 1984 Fireman’s Fund International League Relief Pitcher of the Year and earned a call-up to the parent Red Sox.
Between 1988 and 1991 Charlie was a member of the Nashville Sounds (AAA-American Association) pitching staff. When his Nashville Sounds tenure was over, Charlie moved on to play one season in Bologna, Italy.
After sitting out 1993, Charlie joined his brother John on the roster of the Columbia Mules, a team managed by Barry Lyons in the newly-formed Big South League. The closer for the Mules, Charlie would leave work and drive to Columbia to play ball. The Mules were the champions of the inaugural season, as Charlie was 3-2 in 27 games, finishing with a 1.17 ERA and striking out 35 in 27 innings.
After one more season with Columbia, this time in the Heartland League, Charlie retired. He has continued his father’s legacy by coaching teams of his own and influencing local youth. During one season he coached three of his children on five teams (two regular-season and three all star teams).
Charlie’s coaching credentials include CPA Middle School (where he coached his nephew Dean Mitchell), FCA Middle School, Lavergne Pee Wee Reds (with sons Ross and Reed as members), Lavergne Little League (with Ross), Smyrna Girls Softball Travelers (with daughter Emily), Rutherford Raptors Travel Baseball (Ross and Reed), and Tennessee Raptors (Reed).
Deeply rooted in his beliefs, grounded in his upbringing, and exhibiting a fond love for baseball, Charlie enjoys being a member of the Old Timers board of directors. His brother John is a member of the organization.
A courier with Fed Ex, Charlie and his wife Gina have five children: Emily, Ross, Reed, and two children adopted from Ethiopia in 2012, brothers Nate and Abe. Emily and Reed ran track and were cross country runners in high school, and Ross is currently a relief pitcher for Mississippi State University.
John Mitchell counts his family as the greatest influences of his life: parents Bob and Reba, brothers Mike and Charlie, and sister Patti Rae. A friend of his dad who together began a youth baseball program takes a place in that special group, too.
“Nat Satterfield and my dad built ball fields in the Tusculum area of Nashville where we learned how to play. Nat was the baseball guy. Dad never played, but he loved baseball and they coached together.”
When John was 14, his Nashville Nationals Babe Ruth team was runner up in the Southeast Region, the next year placing third in the World Series in Mobile, Alabama. His coach during those years was fellow Old Timers member Billy Griggs who remembers his big, long fingers.
“He could throw a curve ball like no other I had ever seen. John was a heckuva pitcher,” says Griggs.
A 6’2” and 165-lb. righthander, John was originally drafted by Boston in the seventh round of the 1983 Major League Baseball Draft out of Nashville’s John Overton High School. Bill Tucker was his high school coach at Overton, which has produced major league players Sam Ewing, John's brother Charlie, and Mookie Betts.
The Red Sox had signed his brother Charlie the year before, a pitcher for Columbia State Junior College; both were signed by scout George Digby.
Roger Clemens was also a member of the 1983 Boston draft class and Mitchell and Clemens were two of only six Boston draftees who made it to the majors.
Sent to Elmira in the short-season New York-Pennsylvania League (A) Mitchell finished with a 5-6 record and 4.90 ERA. It was there where Mitchell’s faith journey had its beginning when he began to attend baseball chapel while at Elmira.
After his first season in the minors at Elmira John faced a tragedy in a deep-sea fishing accident off the coast of Florida on October 30, 1983. The boat he was in, along with two fellow Red Sox farmhands, Scott Skripko and Anthony Latham, capsized. The owner of the boat Mark Zastrowmy and Latham drowned. Clinging to a cooler for 20 hours, Skripko was able to survive along with Mitchell who held on to a bucket and floated for 22 hours.
"Someday," Mitchell told The Boston Globe days after the accident, "this is going to be very, very difficult to live with. But right now, we're just glad to be alive."
He reeled off two good seasons: a 16-9 record at Winter Haven (Florida State League – A) in 1984 and a 12-8 record at New Britain (Eastern League – AA) in 1985.
On November 15, 1985 Mitchell was traded to the Mets along with Bob Ojeda, Tom McCarthy and Chris Bayer for Calvin Schiraldi, John Christensen, Wes Gardner and La Schelle Tarver. Mitchell was not ready for the trade.
“I didn’t expect the trade at all. I was upset; it was like going from one high school to another and you wouldn’t be playing with players you’d played with for two years. Standing on the mound at Fenway Park was something I had dreamed of.”
Assigned to Tidewater, the Mets AAA team in the International League he finished with a 12-9 record and 3.39 ERA, earning a call-up to New York.
Mitchell relates his first pitching experience for the Mets. It was during an exhibition game at, of all places, Boston and Fenway Park on September 4, 1986 to support Boston’s Jimmy Fund and New York amateur baseball.
“I had not pitched in a big league game yet, and we go to Fenway, and it’s like a playoff, I mean it is packed, there are Mets fans, it’s crazy.” John related. “They told me before the game that (Rick) Aguilera was going to start and I was going to follow him and (Randy) Myers was going to follow me. That game was nerve-racking for me.
“I was warming up…I had so much adrenaline flowing I think the first pitch I threw went about 50 feet. We had a bullpen catcher who didn’t have on gear, it hit him right on the knee and bounced away and the fans gave him heck for my wild pitch.”
One of the batters John remembers facing in that game was Dave Sax. “He fouled off a couple and I threw him one about six inches off the ground and ump Dale Ford rung him up. Sax just shook his head,” John relates. The Mets won the game, 7-3.
On Sunday afternoon, September 21 at Shea Stadium, Mitchell was called on for his first starting assignment. “I wasn’t supposed to start the game. I found out when I got to the park that morning that I was starting,” recalls Mitchell.
Facing the Phillies in front of a home crowd of 42,631, he held Philadelphia without a run for three innings before they scored four runs on two singles, two doubles, and a Gary Redus home run, giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead. He was relieved by Doug Sisk in the sixth as the Mets lost 7-1.
Mitchell’s 1986 major league stats included an 0-1 record with a 3.60 ERA in four games. For the next three seasons he would move between Tidewater and New York before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles on December 5, 1989. The Mets received minor league pitcher Cesar Mejia and Keith Hughes for Mitchell and minor league outfielder Joaquin Contreras. In five major league seasons John was 9-14 with a 4.35 ERA.
Between a 6-6 record in 24 games with Baltimore and a 5-0 record at Rochester (AAA – International League), his last opportunity for the major leagues was over. With Calgary (Pacific Coast League - AAA) in 1991 and various clubs for the next three years (Independent Sioux Falls in the Northern League, Double-A New Britain in the Eastern League, and AAA in Oklahoma City and Ottawa), Mitchell played independent ball through 1998 before retiring as an active player.
He was inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Born in Dickson, Tennessee on August 11, 1965, John is a resident of Murfreesboro and works for a municipal casting business in Nashville. He and his wife Leeanne met in junior high school in Nashville and have four boys: Hank, Bobby, adopted son Hyunwoo, and Johnny Latham Mitchell, who is named in memory of his deceased friend.
A past president of the Old Timers organization (2007-2008), Gerald has a special memory of Nashville’s famous ballpark, Sulphur Dell, that took place when he was fifteen years old.
“In 1961 at Sulphur Dell, on the last day of the Nashville Baptist League season, I pitched both ends of a must-win double header and our team won the championship.”
His amateur play included playing for Woodbine Lions in the Babe Ruth League and Post 5 in American Legion ball. Gerald began his scholastic career at Central High School where he played with his brother Robert, who had a 10-year major league career with the Boston Red Sox.
When his family moved into the Antioch High School zone, he played quarterback for the Bears football team, and excelled at basketball and baseball, too. Gerald was a two-time All-Nashville player in baseball and was awarded “Player of the Year” honors his junior year. A right-hander, Gerald led Antioch to the state tournament.
Signing a professional baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1965, Gerald was assigned to the Harlan Red Sox in the Appalachian League and finished the season in Wellsville, New York in the New York-Pennsylvania League. At the age of 20, Gerald was back in the NYPL for a second season, this time at Oneonta, New York where he was 2-2.
Once his professional career ended he returned to Nashville, playing in the Tri-State League for Haynes Garment and Nauta-Line before becoming a player-manager for the Nolensville team.
John Morgan’s baseball credentials are many; in his career he was privileged to play in ballparks from Nashville to Japan and attributes his success to those with whom he played.
“I had good coaches and teammates”.
He played amateur ball for Youth, Inc., Coursey’s BBQ, Nolensville Merchants, Green Hills Merchants, Haury & Smith, and Mayo’s Sausage. Nashville’s Centennial and Shelby Parks were his playing fields in Little League, Senior Knot Hole, Tri-State League, City League, and Larry Gilbert League games.
Later he would play in San Antonio at Lackland’s Warhawk Field and in Okinawa at Kadena Air Field. As a youngster he remembers going to watch the Nashville Vols at old Sulphur Dell.
“When the team was exciting, the crowd and atmosphere was something”, John recalls.
He also played there on two occasions. Once was with his high school team and the other time was in a Larry Gilbert League All Star game. And he got to play right field, too, on the dump.
“I got to meet a lot of Vols players and later played with some of them in the City League. Joe Stupak and Buckshot Brown were great players”, he says.
An all-around four-sport athlete at Antioch High School John was an All-Class A football player, All-19th District basketball player, ran in the Banner Relays in track, and was selected All-Eastern in baseball. As a 16-year-old during his senior year his team lost the 1960 state baseball championship by a score of 5-4 in nine innings in Memphis.
He joined the United States Air Force and was sent to Columbus, Mississippi where he completed University of Maryland courses during his term of service. He also borrowed a glove and cleats when he learned there would be tryouts for the base baseball team.
John remembers just how special that first day of tryouts was.
“Everyone had twenty swings, and my first was a foul ball. A Colonel by the name of Oriel Shuter who was the base commander was watching me. I noticed he was sitting up high in the stands and he moved closer behind home plate as I hit seven of the next 19 out of the park. As he turned to leave, Colonel Shuter told me to come by his office the next day.”
John was assigned to Special Services and after a few months in Columbus was sent to Okinawa where Shuter had been transferred. Over the next two years, John mostly played baseball as a left- or center-fielder. Tokyo Field in Japan was one of his favorites.
“Had I wanted to stay overseas, I think could have signed to play with one of the Japanese professional teams.”
He returned to the United States but continued to play during his last 15 months of service, once again back at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. John played for two more seasons in 1964 and 1965 and twice was selected to the All-Air Force Baseball Team and was the first-ever base Athlete of the Year. He also made All-Air Force in basketball.
John played semi-pro baseball for Columbus in the Mississippi-Alabama League in 1963 where Probst Park was the home field for the club. Most of his teammates played at Mississippi State and some were ex-pros.
When he returned home, his amateur career continued. While playing with Coursey’s Bar-be-cue he broke his leg. But his best memories are of being able to play alongside great players.
There are too many to mention”, says John, “but there is one that stands out: Roger Davis. He played with an artificial leg below the knee. He was one of the best contact hitters I have ever been around even with his handicap, and I have played with a lot of good players all over the world.”
Although he never coached, he assisted with several Little League teams. When his baseball days were over he played softball where he played on two City and two State championship teams.
Retired from Firestone/Universal Tire as VP of Retail Sales, and Metro Government where he was an enforcement officer in the Tax Enforcement Division, he is glad to be a member of the Old Timers where he has served as a member of the golf tournament and Hall of Fame selection committees.
“The organization has helped me keep in touch with past teammates, and has helped young players to grow through scholarships and recognize their achievements.”
John was inducted into the Old Timers Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. He was recently selected into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in Evansville, Indiana.
John resides in Nashville and has two children, Susan “Dee Dee” Morgan and Mike Morgan.
During the early 1950s in near Nolensville in Williamson County, Tennessee, Houston's love for baseball was fostered and nurtured by an uncle, John Burke, who was an athlete, and a granddad who loved baseball. Houston played Little League and Babe Ruth baseball; he was named Babe Ruth MVP and won a "Buster Boguskie" autographed baseball glove.
It was a special award, according to Houston. "What a treasure for this 15-year-old that could have never afforded such a luxurious baseball glove on his own.
Besides the Smyrna youth leagues, Houston was a member of the Franklin High School and Lipscomb University baseball teams, and Nolensville in the Tri-State League. He played under coaches W. E. Carter, Louis Dixon, Fred Johnson, Bobby Stephenson, Ira Phelps, Lynn Alexander, Ken Harmon, Jim Smelcher, Ken Dugan, Perk Williams, and Jack Stephenson.
Houston was a natural switch hitter and played all positions except catcher. "I always dreamed of playing major league baseball, but I wasn't good enough, even with all my great coach's help. The closest I ever came was in dreams in a cow pasture on Clovercroft Road in Nolensville," he says.
Ballparks he played in include Sunset Park, Jack Stephenson Field at the Nolensville Community Center, W. E. Carter field in Smyrna, the Williamson County Old County Center, and Coleman, Morgan, Fort Negley, Centennial, and Shelby Parks, along with Onion Dell at Lipsomb. One of his dreams was to play in Sulphur Dell, but it never happened; but he did get to attend Nashville Vols games there with his granddad and uncle.
After his baserball days, he began playing competitive softball for several years until the mid-1980s. During his softball "hey days", he was known as the batter with the smoking bat who could hit the long ball out of sight behind the field lights into the darkness of the night.
A graduate of Franklin High School, Lipscomb University, and a retired elected offical in Williamson County Government after 32 years of service, he owns his own consulting business. He is a season ticket holder for Nashville Sounds games at First Tennessee Park.
"I have four wonderful children who with their spouses have given me six precious little ones who call me 'Grandpa'," Houston proudly proclaims. "I am so honored, too, to be a part of the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association, as I firmly support the stated Old Timers creed: to enjoy fellowship with baseball enthusiasts and to honor and support the great game of baseball!"
David has coached Worth and Twitty City baseball clubs. He has served as general manager, head coach, assistant coach, and as league officer of MSABA (Mid-State Amateur Baseball Association) beginning in 1980. He retired from managing and coaching in 2008.
His duties have included player recruitment and research, schedule preparation, and budget organization, while also originating and directing tournaments
As an original officer of the MSABA Baseball League, he arranged a strong network of baseball clubs throughout Middle Tennessee to become a highly competitive collection of teams. As a head coach, in 1986 his teams captured 16-U and 18-U World Series championships along with final rankings in the top 4 of 11 national tournaments.
His leadership has instilled the importance of God, Family, Teamwork, Respect, and Integrity within the framework of his ball cubs, preparing young men to have a good foundation of moral values to carry into their future. Many of his players have received college scholarships.
A graduate of East Nashville High School, David has served as assistant coach at Aquinas College from 1989 to 2001, and from 2002 through 2012 held the same role at Volunteer State Community College. He served as an associate scout for the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Atlanta Braves between 1990 and 2010.
A deacon at Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in Goodlettsville, David and wife Pamela reside in Gallatin.
Skip Nipper is author of Baseball in Nashville (2007, Arcadia Publishing), is a member of SABR (Society of American Baseball Research) and SABR's Grantland Rice-Fred Russell (Nashville) chapter, and serves as secretary of Old Timers.
He is a contributing author to SABR's Biography Project, an ongoing effort to research and write comprehensive biographical articles on people who played or managed in the major leagues, or otherwise made a significant contribution to the sport. A presenter at the Southern Association Conference at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, on numerous occasions, his most recent participation was on March 3, 2018, when he featured the history of Vols, Inc., the corporation formed in 1958 to save Nashville professional baseball from extinction.
Skip was keynote speaker at the 2014 Baseball in Literature and Culture Conference at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and presented his knowledge of Sulphur Dell at the SABR 40 convention in Atlanta, Georgia in 2010. He has participated in panel discussions about Nashville's baseball past at the Metro Nashville/Davidson County Library and Metro Archives and various civic groups.
He assisted the Nashville Sounds staff in providing historical information and images within First Tennessee Park during construction and before the opening of the ballpark in 2015.
A graduate of Stratford High School and Memphis State University, he and his wife Sheila reside in Mt. Juliet.
A graduate of Dupont High School, Mike attended Middle Tennessee State University. During his last semester at MTSU he served as an intern with The Tennessean, and after graduating with a journalism degree he went to work in the sports department as a full-time employee.
Mike had previously worked for the newspaper as a teen, answering the phone and running copy in the sports department on weekends and keeping statistics at high school football games on Friday nights.
His 30-year career has included high school sports editor, and covering the Ohio Valley Conference, Southeastern Conference, area colleges, Nashville Sounds, Nashville Predators, and just about every other sport in the area.
His current weekly column, “Midstate Chatter”, is a local favorite of readers. He has won awards for "Beat Coverage" and "Breaking News" during his time covering Vanderbilt.
Mike serves on the leadership board for the Greater Nashville Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and is on the Nashville Sports Council selection committee for the annual Pepsi Celebration of Champions. He was inducted into the Metro Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014.
He and his wife Lady live in Hermitage.
A man whose life is rooted in the local sandlots, Farrell Owens fondly relates a gesture from his father which begins his baseball story, “In the summer of ’56, my dad bought me a first baseman’s mitt at Friedman’s on Charlotte Avenue after I did not make the team I had tried out for. It was my first year to try to play organized amateur baseball and I was really down.”
“That new mitt really picked me up. I played all summer in the neighborhood with that glove”, says Farrell.
Farrell’s playing career began in Junior Knothole baseball playing for the West Side Parts team as a twelve-year-old in the summer of 1957. The next year, his team was Holder-Northern Lumber Company in the Senior Knothole League. In 1959 he played for them again, and in 1960 the team was sponsored by Pettus-Owen-Wood Funeral Home.
He did not play the next summer of 1961. As a sixteen-year-old he had been a member of the Cohn High School team, but he chose to help his father coach the Cohn Men’s Club team in Senior Knothole ball. That team won the city’s league championship.
However, he played for two teams during the summer of 1962 at the age of seventeen: for Green Hills Merchants in the Larry Gilbert League and for Post 5 in American Legion ball. Farrell was selected as a Gilbert League All Star in 1963; the All Star game was played at Sulphur Dell. At the age of 19 he played for the Lipscomb College entry in the City League.
While at Cohn, Farrell was named to the first team of Nashville’s All-City baseball team. Upon graduation in 1963, he went to Lipscomb to play baseball, becoming a starter on the 1964 team but transferred to Austin Peay in the fall.
Realizing he had made a mistake in transferring, Farrell made the move back to Lipscomb with the blessing of legendary head baseball coach Ken Dugan who told Farrell, “I would be happy to have you back”.
Dugan was a mentor to Farrell. “While at Lipscomb, he was certainly the most influential on me, ahead of his time as a baseball coach. I took pride in learning as much as I could from him and used his techniques and management in my own coaching career.”
In 1966 Lipscomb won the District championship, the first school team to qualify for the Regional tournament. Farrell was center fielder on that team. As a senior in 1968 Farrell gained national notoriety by pulling an unassisted double play as an outfielder against arch-rival Belmont.
In 1992 Farrell was inducted into the Lipscomb University Athletic Hall of Fame.
During his college career, Farrell played during the summer for the Coursey’s BBQ team in the Tri-State League. The team competed as a member of the 19-and-over Stan Musial Division, a part of the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC).
Coursey’s qualified for the Stan Musial World Series in Battle Creek, Michigan. The team won one and lost two in the tournament and Farrell led the tournament with a .397 average.
By 1969 Farrell was coaching high school baseball and continuing to play in sandlot baseball in the Tri-State League but this time for a new team, Tennessee Pride Eggs, sponsored by the company’s owner, Herman Bullock. Farrell was Tri-State League Player of the Year in 1969, batting .456. His last year to play was 1972.
He began to manage the Haury & Smith Construction team in 1973 and led the team to the state championship in Knoxville. Farrell relates the story:
“One of the happiest moments of my baseball life happened to me when I was a 29-year-old manager for Haury & Smith. We were playing the Knoxville team in their hometown Bill Meyer Stadium for the Stan Musial state championship.”
“The score was tied 0-0 after nine innings, but we scored two runs in the top of the tenth inning. In the bottom of the tenth, with men on first and third and no outs, pitcher Butch Stinson gets the next hitter to fly out to the outfield. The runner on third scores, but the runner on first is held.”
“After the next batter strikes out, a ball is sharply-hit to shortstop Ricky Wheeler who throws to Donnie Polk, covering second base for the final out. Butch had pitched a 10-inning complete game, and we won the State Championship 2-1!”
“I can remember us celebrating at the Andrew Johnson Hotel after the game and I was so happy I yelled out, ‘Bingo! One for the roses!’”
In 1974 the team won the league title once again but lost in the Stan Musial state tournament in Memphis.
In 1975 and 1976 Haury & Smith played in the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series in Wichita, Kansas after winning the state and regional tournaments. Mike Wright, Steve Burger, and Jerry Bell were members of that team.
It was in the fall of 1976 when Larry Schmittou called upon Farrell to begin organizing what would become the Nashville Sounds professional minor league team.
In 1977 while at Pearl High School, where he had become head baseball coach in 1972, Farrell wrote an article on base running that was published in the prestigious “Athletic Journal". That year Farrell was inducted into the Nashville Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame by the Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association and he helped to establish a new amateur league in Nashville, the Kerby Farrell League.
Leaving teaching and coaching in 1978 to help found the Nashville Sounds, he served as Vice President and General Manager for five years. The new venture became a member of the Southern League (AA) and an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. At one time Farrell owned a part of four minor league teams.
In 1989 Farrell began an amateur baseball newspaper, “The Sandlotter”, covering play in the Greater Nashville Amateur Baseball Association (GNABA). No longer a publication, his venture became an internet source in 1997 and is now accessed online at www.sandlotter.com. It covers the SANDLOTT Mid-State League.
A lifelong Nashvillian, Farrell became a baseball player, coach, instructor, mentor, teacher, and former professional baseball executive. He served as president of the Nashville Old Timers during 1987-1988 and continues to serve on the board of directors and executive commitee.
His life has impacted many other players and friends. His counsel continues to guide and mold lives today as an authority on Nashville’s baseball history.
“I have learned that there is a romantic aspect to teaching and talking about baseball. Everyone lends an ear to it”, he says.
Farrell has two daughters, Paige and Ashley, and one granddaughter Charlotte who was born in February of 2012.
Tommy Parker is a graduate of John Overton High School and the University of Tennessee, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business. Tommy also holds a Masters Degree in Financial Services from American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Owing his love of baseball to his father Thomas G. Parker, who was an outstanding player but was never able to play school ball because he had to work, Tommy learned the game from him as he made sure there was always opportunity to play sports.
A three-year starter at John Overton High School under Jim Crawford and Bill Tucker, the 1968 team finished second in the state baseball tournament when there were no classifications. Overton was NIL (Nashville Interscholastic League) Champion in 1970.
Tommy’s amateur baseball career was influenced by great summer league coaches including Walt Donaldson, Perry Compton, Irvin Wilson, Jack Lavender and Larry Schmittou. Playing as a member of the local All-Stars in the Babe Ruth World Series in Anchorage, Alaska, Tommy’s team came in fourth.
Foregoing the opportunity to play small college baseball, Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Sue, now his wife of 41 years, and graduated from college in less than 3 years. Returning from Knoxville, he took over Irvin Wilson’s J. P. Brown team and led the team to the league and city championships.
Out of coaching for six years until his oldest son began to play at age 6, Tommy coached all three of his sons from 1981 through 2000 in the Granbery, Green Hills, Crieve Hall, Music City and GNABA leagues. Successful in winning over 1,000 games, his teams won 19 state championships, three regional championships, two World Series championships and finished World Series runner-up on two occasions.
Tommy’s teams participated in a total of eleven amateur World Series tournaments.
In his amateur coaching career, Tommy is proud of the fact that over 40 of his players went on to play college baseball.
Two of his sons played in the college ranks: Thomas at Belmont and Chris at Lipscomb. Chris was selected second team “All Independent” Division I and was winner of the prestigious Dugan Award. An attorney, Chris was instrumental in the Old Timers Baseball Association receiving its 501 (c) (3) status. Son Justin has attended a game in every Major League ballpark.
Tommy continues to be an avid follower of youth baseball at all levels, including sponsoring and coaching his own AFPC team and catching many local high school and college games. He especially enjoys watching and working with his grandchildren who are playing and “living the dream”.
An active member of the Old Timers Baseball Association, Tommy is past-president and was recently elected by board members to the newly created office of Chief Financial Officer. Tommy works with all three sons in the Parker Planning Group as part of the money management and financial planning company, Thoroughbred Financial Services, LLC where Tommy is President.
As a board member of the Old Timers Baseball Association of Nashville, Lem is able to relive some of his baseball memories.
“It is a time to reflect on the past with some of my former teammates.”
Lem’s baseball past plays a big part in his expertise with the game he loves. He played professionally for various teams in ballparks across the country under the affiliation of the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners.
His minor league career began with rookie ball at Elmira in the New York-Penn League in 1986, Greensboro in the South Atlantic League in 1987, a return to the SALLY league in 1988 with Myrtle Beach, ending with Peninsula in 1989 and 1990 in the Carolina League.
Along the way his teammates included Curt Schilling, Bob Boone, Brett Boone, Derek Bell, Mike Timlin, Jeff Nelson, and fellow Old Timers board member John Mitchell.
That would not end his participation in baseball as he began coaching in the Southern League in 1991. In 1992 he coached in the California and Northwest leagues and fondly remembers team members Desi Relaford, Chris Widger, and Mike Hampton.
A member of the baseball teams at John Overton High School and Columbia State Community College, Lem’s amateur baseball days included playing for Shoetiques in the Bellevue Babe Ruth league (age 13-15) and at Shelby Park (age 16-18).
Special memories include playing in Durham Athletic Park in 1989 about a month after the movie “Bull Durham” was released, being in Palm Springs in 1992 when the temperature was 124 degrees, and that same season being in San Bernardino during the Los Angeles riots.
Nashville’s Greer Stadium holds a special place in his memory, too, as he recalls his favorite Nashville Sounds players.
“Just a great place to go watch professional ballplayers as a young kid: Willie McGee, Don Mattingly, Steve Balboni, Buck Showalter, and Dave Van Gorder.
“And then getting to play against Willie McGee in Spring Training in 1991!”
Lem is owner of Hit After Hit Baseball Academy in Nashville, where he uses his playing and coaching career experiences to instruct local players. He is eager to share his understanding of the game he loves and his knowledge of baseball.
“Passing the game along to the next generation to help them learn how the game should be played gives me a chance to give back to some of the younger kids who might be tomorrow’s big leaguers.”
Primarily a left fielder and third baseman at John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana, one of Russ’ influences on his life was his baseball coach. Len Buczkowski taught Russ how to play the game.
“I’ve never had a coach that drilled the fundamentals more than him, by far.”
It was while playing on the baseball field in Columbia, Missouri, mostly at third and second base, where Russ furthered his instruction alongside future major leaguers Phil Bradley and Dave Otto. It was also where University of Missouri head coach Gene McArtor gave Russ his introduction to big-time baseball, Big 8 style.
Becoming a coach and counselor at the Johnny Bench Baseball School in 1982 allowed Russ to teach others about his baseball knowledge, but it also gave him opportunity to meet and talk to him several times that summer.
Russ’ experience and love for baseball allowed him to continue playing on a regular basis beyond high school and college. Beginning in 1983 he played semi-pro ball for $25.00 a game in a league based out of St. Louis, Missouri. The team played 12 or 15 games against teams from Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas.
In Savannah, Georgia, he played in an adult baseball league between 1987 and 1989, and while residing in Birmingham he played in an adult baseball league for over 30-year-olds between 1998 and 2002. It was there that he played several games in America’s oldest ballpark, Rickwood Field.
He has played in the Cumberland Valley Wood Bat League since 2005, a league for over-35 and -45 year-olds.
Recently Russ played in the Roy Hobbs over 48 leagues during 2011 and 2012 and recently in the Roy Hobbs World Series in Florida for the “Dirtbags”. Rick Miller and fellow Old Timers board member Bart Leathers are members of that team. Russ and Bart have played together on various teams in Nashville.
As a member of the Old Timers, Russ appreciates the chance to give something back, and the group allows him to get involved in money-raising events and contributing his time and efforts to a local organization.
“(It is) an opportunity to stay involved with baseball for many years after playing ball is over, and a chance to meet and learn from so many others who love baseball.
“I am a huge Reds fan, probably to a fault. I love statistics, trends, and everything “baseball”.
Russ is a season ticket holder with the Nashville Sounds and has great seats at Greer Stadium. His love for baseball has been a pattern his entire life.
“I still play with the same glove I got new in 1986!”
The founder and vice president of Equipment Finders, Inc., a construction equipment rental company based in Nashville since 1996, Russ has recently taken on a new responsibility as president of the newly formed Stratford Spartan Baseball Club.
He is serving a two-year term as president of Old Timers. Russ and his wife Marcia have four kids ranging in ages from 21 to 12.
Board member Rip Ryman is a graduate of East High School, class of 1952, and attended Belmont College and UT-Nashville. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1954 during the Korean War.
Rip has been a Metro Nashville Councilman in District 10, first serving in 2003. Now retired from the City Council, he also has chaired the Government Affairs Committee of the Nashville Sports Council.
Old Timers president during 2005-2006, Rip has been a District 4 Director of Dixie Youth Baseball (1967-1971) and served as State Director of Tennessee Dixie Youth Baseball (1971-1998). After playing fast pitch softball as a pitcher for Western Electric (1957-1969), Rip coached teams at Parkwood Dixie Youth (1966-1971) and Goodlettsville Dixie Youth (1998-2003).
At the 74th annual Old Timers banquet held in January, Rip was named the 2012 recipient of the organization's prestigious "Mr. Baseball" award.
Rip is treasurer of the Old Timers Baseball Association and serves on the Executive and Scholarship Committees. He co-chairs the Golf Committee which organizes the group's successful annual golf tournament.
During the past 14 years over $230,000 has been raised to provide scholarships for worthy high school senior baseball players. The awards are presented at the Old Timers banquet.
Rip and his wife Libby reside in Goodlettsville.
Gene’s baseball career began in 1951 when he played Little League ball at Fort Negley. He played three years in the local Babe Ruth League for Woodbine Lions Club beginning in 1953.
A graduate of Antioch High School, as a pitcher-first baseman he was Nashville Interscholastic League Most Valuable Player and All-District in basketball. He was a member of the Boys Club team in the Larry Gilbert League.
At the age of 18 he signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees for $20,000 and was sent to Kearney in the Nebraska State League (Class D-Rookie) where he was 2-6 with a 3.60 ERA in his first season. In 1959, he pitched for St. Petersburg in the Florida State League and was 4-4 with a 5.28 ERA. He played for two teams in 1960, St. Petersburg and Fargo-Moorhead in the Class C Northern League.
Gene returned to Nashville and from 1962 to 1972 played for Nolensville in the Tri-State League, a semi-pro circuit, where he was selected MVP in 1965.
A former president of Old Timers 1989-1990, Gene was chosen as a member of the organization’s Nashville Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. His uncle was former New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds pitching coach and Nashville Vols manager, Jim Turner.
Before retiring in 2012, he was a real estate investor and private lender, and now raises cattle.
Gene and his wife Patricia have two children, Daniel and Rhonda, and three grandchildren: Drew, Taylor, and Tylor.
Steve is chairman of Haury&Smith Contractors, Inc., a building and development company. He is active in the community, having served on the Metropolitan Nashville Planning Commission, the Regional Transit Authority, and was chairman of the Metropolitan Nashville Parks and Recreation Board of Directors. He has been on the Board of Directors of Franklin Road Academy, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid South Chapter Board and the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, and sits on the Board of Directors of CapStar National Bank. He received the MS Society's Hope Award in 2007.
A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, he serves on the President's Council and the Board of Directors of the Blue Raider Athletic Association. He chaired the search committee for MTSU's Athletic Director and spearheaded the successful effort to raise $5 million to construct a new baseball facility. He was inducted into the Blue Raider Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, received the Tennessee Board of Regents' Chancellor's Citation for Excellence in Philanthropy in 2008, and was awarded the Jennings Jones Champion of Free Enterprise Award from the MTSU College of Business in 2010.
Steve was two-term President of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, served on the Advisory Board of the Walking Horse National Celebration and was chairman of the National Horse Show Commission. He won 10 World Championships as a rider, including the 1992 Amateur World Grand Champion, and was inducted into the Tennessee Walking Horse Hall of Fame in 2001.
In his baseball career Larry Taylor was fortunate to play with some easily-recognizable names: Roger Craig (Dodgers), Joe Cunningham (Cardinals), Joe Landrum (Dodgers), Roy Pardue (Nashville), Pig House (Tigers), Bubba Phillips (Tigers), Haywood Sullivan (Red Sox), and Willie Mays.
Assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina during his military service from 1952 through 1954, Larry remembers playing on a great team and against great players, one of whom was a very special player.
“Willie Mays was on an opposing team while I was in the service. Every time Willie came to bat with men on base, we walked him. We won the two games played.”
A basketball and baseball star at Rockwell High School, Larry earned his degree at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he played basketball for four years and baseball for three years.
Area summer leagues set his baseball career in motion, as he played for Rockwell Mill, Windsor, and Hamlett teams in his home state of North Carolina. Signing with Cincinnati in 1950, he was sent to Columbia in the South Atlantic League for the 1951 season and 1952 seasons.
Of Larry’s eight professional minor league seasons, four of them were in Nashville where he was primarily a second baseman. From 1955 through July of 1958, Larry played on teams that included teammates Bobby Hazle, Jim O’Toole, Tommy Brown, Dick Sisler, Jay Hook, and Buddy Gilbert.
“In 1955 we had a good team and missed the playoff by one game. In 1957 we lost the pennant in the last week of the season.”
Baseball took Larry to several cities while playing in the Sally League, Southern Association, California League, and Western Carolina League, a Class D league that Branch Rickey set up. He played or coached in Columbia, Columbus, Jacksonville, Memphis, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Little Rock, and of course Nashville’s famous Sulphur Dell.
Larry met his wife Betty Jane while playing in Nashville. In July of 1958, Larry left Nashville and moved to Visalia, California as player-coach. Visalia was in the Class C California League.
In 1959 Larry played for Hester Battery in the Tri-State League. The team won the state tournament. Later that year Larry began a 15-year career coaching basketball, baseball and teaching at Berry College near Rome, Georgia.
Larry returned to professional baseball for one additional season as coach of the Class D Salisbury, North Carolina team in 1960. He played in 66 games in the dual role of player-coach and finished his career with a .260 batting average.
After his retirement from Berry College in 1974, Larry and Betty Jane returned to Nashville.
Mike was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, and attended the University of Iowa where he graduated with a degree in Finance. He later received his MBA from Illinois State University. Mike relocated from Illinois to Arizona in 1993, and in April of 1994 started his career with Caterpillar Financial Services where he still works today as Operations Manager in the Risk Management department. In 2000 he and his wife Cheryl came to Nashville as part of a company move.
He started playing baseball at age nine and has not stopped since. He played a couple of years of high school ball at Bergan High School in Peoria, but throughout college played on semi-pro teams there, continuing to do so until his move to Phoenix. He served as president of Kellar Little League in Peoria from 1986 to 1993, and played fast pitch softball for 10 years and slow pitch for about five. After his move to Phoenix he played in the local MSBL league there for seven years while also managing a team the last six years he was in Arizona.
When he and Cheryl moved to Nashville in 2001, he began playing in local leagues. In 2005, a group he was involved with started a new 40+ league which they named the Cumberland Valley Baseball League. Starting with one division and four teams, the league has now grown over the years to its current configuration of three divisions (18+, 32+, and 45+) with 19 teams. Now called the Middle Tennessee Adult Baseball Association, Mike has been President of the league since 2006, and has managed a team since the first year.
He and Cheryl have been married since 1984 and have three adult children: Jenny Coskun, who is soon to start her 4th year of medical school at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee; Daniel Ward, a marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq and now works as a social worker for the Veterans Administration in Nashville; and Brandon Ward, an Army veteran and sniper who served one tour in Afghanistan and now also works at Cat Financial in Nashville. Mike says he and his wife are dog nuts, sharing their home with four dogs.