The Old Timers Baseball Association of Nashville is an organization formed in 1939 as a way for baseball players and fans to gather and tell stories of their experiences. Referred to as “Hot Stove League” during the winter as there was no baseball other than gathering around a hot stove to wait for spring and a new baseball season, the organization gives credit to its longevity from the support it gets from members and support it gives back to the community.
Eventually evolving into a dinner with a speaker, the group will be celebrating its 76th annual banquet in January of 2014. Several years ago, it was decided to begin a golf tournament as a way to raise money for a scholarship fund. High school senior baseball players have been the recipients of the awards, and each winner is recognized at the annual banquets.
The 16th annual Old Timers golf tournament was played today. Although the amount of dollars raised will not be known until the next board of directors meeting, through the first fifteen tournaments over $250,000.00 has been raised and distributed.
Golf committee co-chairmen Billy Griggs and Rip Ryman and the other board members put together a tournament that Old Timers and guests can be proud of. Sponsorships, in-kind gifts, and donations make for an affordable outing with lunch and dinner provided, too.
Several former professional players supported today’s tournament: Tommy Bolton, Steve Liddle, Nick Hiter, Gene Smith, Gerald Montgomery, Joe Boever, and Larry Taylor.
Local coaches from area colleges lent their support by playing: Matt Thomas, Matt Burnett, Eric House, and Aaron Smith from Belmont, Lipscomb University’s Director of Baseball Operations Bryan Ryman, along with amateur coaches Mickey Hiter, Dustin Smith, Mike Mitchell, Bart Leathers, Daniel Peck, Eric Fruechtmeyer, and Jason Anderegg.
The Nashville Sounds were well-represented, too: Assistant General Manager Doug Scopel, play-by-play announcer Jeff Hem, Director of Ticketing Eric Laue, and groundskeeper Thomas Trotter were there, as was the first Sounds General Manager and Old Timers board member Farrell Owens.
Another board member at the tournament, Spike Hupka, played an important role this year as the Director of the 12-and-under Cal Ripken World Series. Spike has served on the board of Babe Ruth Baseball.
An added treat for several members was the opportunity to meet Ted Rhodes Golf Course employee Bobby Coleman. Bobby was a member of the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs from 1954 through 1956.
The combination of golf and baseball, all for a great cause, brought out Nashville’s best. The reward is that young baseball players will be able to further their education by being awarded a scholarship at the Old Timers banquet.
“Hot Stove League” events happen in the best days of summer, too, as baseball players, supporters and Old Timers know how to “pay it forward”.