Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Series brings out interesting baseball stories
New York Mets Kevin McReynolds, left, is blocked by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia (14) as he makes his way to home plate during ninth inning action in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Oct. 5, 1988. Scioscia did not catch the ball and McReynolds scored on the play to lift the Mets past the Dodgers, 3-2. Umpire Harry Wendelstedt watches the play. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
The series on the Top 10 Pro Baseball Hogs has been a great read and no doubt will finish strong.
Two of the last three before today, Jeff King at No. 6 and Kevin McReynolds No. 4, were especially interesting but for different reasons.
Andrew Meadors actually made the connection on King and called to share it.
More on that in a minute.
The McReynolds story talked about the time when he was a member of the New York Mets and was about as controversial as possible.
Of course, he wasn’t thinking about being controversial, he was being Kevin McReynolds, open and honest.
McReynolds was always cautious around the media, not so much as a lack of trust, but he didn’t like being the center of attention. He was, and is, a bit shy in a humble way.
Before the seventh game of the 1988 National League Championship Series, McReynolds said it was a win-win for him because if they lost he got to go home to Arkansas.
It didn’t mean he wasn’t going to play hard and try to win. It meant he missed his home state after a long, hard season.
McReynolds never made anywhere but Arkansas his home.
Offseason and any break he got he was back in the Natural State.
In the last few years, yours truly has gotten to know McReynolds and his wife Beth. We worship together at Pinnacle Church of Christ.
The first time you see him you think, ‘Wow, that’s Kevin McReynolds,’ but there is no one in the church more approachable or with a warmer smile.
After a 12-year major-league career, McReynolds of course returned to Arkansas full time, and for years he ran his own duck club but sold that a couple of years ago.
The ballpark in Sherwood where he made his reputation is named the Kevin McReynolds Sports Complex, and he’s practically a volunteer for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in which he was inducted in 1996.
If the Hall of Fame needs someone to present a trophy at Oaklawn during the HOF day, he’s always available.
He’s a regular every year as a celebrity golfer at the HOF golf tournament — which will be Sept. 21 this year — and a much desired member of a team because he can still knock the cover off the ball.
As good of a baseball player as he was, he’s a better person.
King, too, but to the surprise of most, he is not in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, although he has been nominated for a long time.
Meadors checked and double-checked before he called the chairman of the selection committee, who was shocked.
Last year, it was Jim Counce who everyone thought was already in, but he wasn’t, and that was quickly fixed and he was voted in the first time his name appeared on the ballot.
Unlike Counce, who is a heart surgeon in Northwest Arkansas, after King left the University of Arkansas he never returned to the state, and that’s probably why he fell through the cracks.
That will no doubt be remedied.
The hall of fame selection committee meets a week from today to prepare a list of worthy candidates to present to the board which generally approves the list.
The selection committee does leave wiggle room if the board wants to add someone.
The current president of the hall of fame, Greg Flesher, has continued a diligent updating and modernizing everything about the organization. As a partner with the Frost Firm he’s got a great eye for detail.
As do members like Meadors who is a past president and serves on the selection committee.
The hall of fame isn’t perfect, but it is trying to be.
The Top 10 Pro Baseball Hogs series has been informative and entertaining and that makes for good reading.
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