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U.P. sports & baseball

History comes together for writer in Sports Den

July 31, 2010
Daily Press

ESCANABA - The history of baseball and Upper Peninsula sports history are atop my pecking order of interest and this weekend they may come together.

The U.P. Sports Hall of Fame's executive council meets in St. Ignace to select the 2011 class of inductees, a process that is difficult with 272 nominees vying for 10 spots. There are 161 in the post-1960 category in which seven inductees are selected and 111 in the pre-1960 division in which three are picked.

Some candidates are obviously stronger than others, and 23 U.P. residents face the task of deciding who tops the list.

Article Photos

Daily Press sports editor Dennis Grall

One of the candidates is William Denton (Dolly) Gray of Houghton. He pitched three seasons for the old Washington Nationals in the American League and is a member of the Pacific Coast League's Hall of Fame, a league that many at the time considered nearly an equal to the 16-team Major League.

Gray was a teammate of legendary Walter (Big Train) Johnson and was the winning pitcher at the debut of Griffith Stadium. He did not have much success, with a 15-51 career mark, but remember that sports experts of the time said Washington "was first in peace, first in war and last in the American League."

Three of the 15 new nominees include area standouts Sara Boyer, Scott Hebert and Jeff Nault.

* Arctic Blast general manager Andy Bray said the future of the men's football team is up in the air.

He told Burt Angeli of the Iron Mountain Daily News the Blast will definitely not play in the Northern Elite League next season. Blast was winless this year and forfeited one game because of a lack of players.

* Also wondering about next year is Karen Plaisier, golf coach at Negaunee High School.

She has retired as a teacher but would like to coach for at least one more season. She leaves for Arizona in January and has the team's equipment in her basement.

Plaisier told Craig Remsburg of the Marquette Mining Journal that the decision on her return is up to school officials.

* An old classmate will join the Hall of Fame in Wisconsin Oct. 2. Sam Komp, a Marinette Catholic Central graduate, will be inducted into the Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He was the leading scorer in 1964 when the Cavaliers beat fabled Rocky Bleier and Appleton Xavier for the state basketball championship, ending the Hawks' 49-game win streak.

He succeeded his coach, Marty Crowe, as the MCC coach, then spent 25 years at Peshtigo before taking a break. He is back at the helm for Peshtigo, where he has also served as football coach.

* Jim Markell won his ninth men's championship Sunday at Iron Mountain Pine Grove Country Club. Markell shot 69-74 in the two-day event to finish five shots ahead of Jon Ellis, the reigning U.P. Golf Association men's champion.

Randy Ellis took low net with 144, a stroke ahead of Escanaba native Jim Myllyla.

* Another high school has been ordered to eliminate a nickname deemed offensive to American Indians.

Osseo-Fairchild, west of Wausau, must drop Chieftans as the school nickname on a ruling from the Department of Public Instruction after determining it was race-based and promoted discrimination and harassment. The logo depicts an American Indian in a feather headdress.



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