By KYLE LOVERN
It looks as though the Coalfield Baseball Reunion will happen. Organizers Tom Varney, Ireland Smith and Bob Hatfield are busy making contacts with former players from days gone by.
The reunion will be held September 3, Labor Day Weekend, at the Williamson Fire Department. It is tentatively set to start at 1 p.m. Varney recently attended the Williamson City Council meeting to get approval and support for the event.
The reunion is open to any former Coalfield League, American Legion (Post 49), summer league or former high school baseball player from the Tug Valley area.
“We have a great history of baseball in this area,” Varney said. “There have been some great players who took to the baseball diamond. Many have passed on, but we want to honor those living and those who have passed.”
Players like Stan Musial, Nat Hickey, Rocky Marciano and many others played at Lefty Hamilton Park in West End. It was noted there were some other great players from the area who made it to the big leagues like Doc Edwards and Jack Hatfield from Matewan and Arnold “Lefty” Carter from Nolan.
There has also been some great high school baseball teams. Williamson High School won the state championship in 1948 and 1965. The American Legion teams of the late 1950s, coached by the late Jim Van Zant, also won several titles.
In years past, many of the coal companies fielded their own baseball teams in many of the communities throughout the area. The games were a social event on the weekends and the teams were a sense of pride for each coal camp.
Just like at a baseball game, this event will feature hot dogs, apple pies, soft drinks and other refreshments.
Hopefully former players and their families will bring old photos, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia to the reunion. There will be a registration book for those who played to sign in at the event.
Anyone interested in participating or helping with the reunion should contact Varney at 304-235-0751, Smith at 606-353-4633 or Hatfield at 606-353-1115. They may also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.