Class A inducted eight members into their inaugural Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 9, 2011. Tim Kiemel, Mark Young, Larry Gallagher, Jerry Sevlie, Jeff Monson, Steve Winfield and Jim Lawton were all on the field between all-star games of the four Class A leagues at Dunning Field. Jim Botten, the other inductee, couldn’t make the ceremony because of family commitments. Greg Schildgen accepted the plaque for Botten.
After the St. Paul League beat the Park National 15-6 in the first game of the day, the ceremony was held around the home plate area of Dunning Field with 300 people in attendance. Each of the inductees was introduced and given a plaque that praised the recipient’s “extraordinary contributions to Minnesota Class A amateur baseball.” After all of the introductions, Jim Lawton, manager of the victorious St. Paul League (and still in his uniform) gave a speech thanking the induction committee and the other inductees, their families and friends.
“To me, the greatest adventure in my life has been playing baseball,” said Lawton. He went on to say “each of us has a lifetime of adventures…stories about people we have met along the basepaths of our life. These bands of friendship forged through baseball will always remain as our strongest memories…we are truly the ‘Boys of Summer.”
Afterward, all of the inductees talked about being honored to be selected. “This is great, this is really something. To be honest with you—I don’t deserve this,” said Larrry Gallagher. “On every team I’ve played on there are five guys that deserve this more than me,” he continued. Here is a guy that has played with five state champions, umpired for over 30 years, worked with all kinds of youth and led an exemplary life being as humble as can be. It was typical of the inductees that day.
“The first State Tournament was played in 1924 in St. Paul,” stated Shawn Vellek. “Town ball did kind of start in the city. These players deserve to be Hall of Famers.”
In a telephone conversation with Jim Botten, he stated, “I’m honored of course, it’s a terrific honor. It means that you have the respect of your peers.” When asked what he remembers the most about Minnesota Amateur Baseball he said, “I met an awful lot of really nice people. I always thought I should give back more than I took from it.” Botten left Minnesota in 2000 to live in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In the second all-star game of the day the Skyline League beat the Riverview League 10-8 to round out a perfect afternoon. To see more photos of the event click here.