Five area baseball players and contributors, including Vinton’s Rodney Spradlin, will be inducted into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame at the 27th annual hot stove banquet tonight at the Salem Civic Center.
This year’s speaker will be Bobby Basham, a Franklin County native and current member of the Chicago Cubs organization. Basham will also be one of the five inductees along with David Hagan, Jon Hartness, Doug Heptinstall and Spradlin.
Basham just completed his sixth season working in the front office for the Chicago Cubs organization, which included their 2016 World Championship season, the first for the Cubs in 108 years. He currently holds the title of Assistant Director of Minor League Operations and has held roles in Advance Scouting and Major League Strategy.
Bobby grew up in Franklin County and graduated from Franklin County High School in 1998. He was named both the 1998 Timesland baseball player of the year and the Ray Bellamy award winner for going 8-0 with a 0.77 ERA for the Roanoke Valley District champs. During his junior season he was a key contributor on one the greatest baseball teams in Eagles history — the 1997 Northwest Region championship squad that went 22-2.
Spradlin was a standout pitcher for William Byrd High School and also played two years at Carson Newman College. He spent many years as an assistant and head coach for the Terriers. In 1997 he coached the Terriers to their only state championship and was named the state Group AA Coach of the Year.
Rodney is still involved in many aspects of baseball. He works for the “Baseball Factory” organization, traveling the east coast evaluating baseball players’ skills. He’s also coached the West team in the annual Virginia Commonwealth Games for the past 25 years.
Hagan is the owner of historic Calfee Park in Pulaski, where he brought in the New York Yankees as a minor league affiliate in the Appalachian League. The franchise has been the most successful in the league, attendance-wise, for the past three seasons.
Hartness, a Salem resident, earned a baseball scholarship to Virginia Tech after an outstanding high school career as a pitcher at Mills Godwin High School in Richmond. He was primarily a relief pitcher but an occasional starter, and holds the distinction of pitching the first nine inning no-hitter in Tech baseball history.
Heptinstall is currently the State Director for American Legion baseball, and also serves as District Chairman for the state rules committee. He’s spent numerous hours of volunteer time making sure the local league runs smoothly.
In addition, local free lance journalist Bill Turner has been selected to receive the Wayne LaPierre award for contributions to the game. Bill is a regular contributor to the Roanoke Star newspaper and been involved in baseball in many other areas as well.