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Local baseball hall to induct three

Frick, Switzer and Sherman to be honored Nov. 9

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 2:59 am

Three new members will be inducted into the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 9.

This year's inductees include former Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, local umpire Dave Switzer and long-time Huntington North baseball coach Don Sherman.

The 6:30 p.m. event will be held at the Classic Cafe Catering and Event Center, 4832 Hillegas Road. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased by mail at NEIBA, P.O. Box 12733, Fort Wayne, IN 46864, via the organization's website at neibaseball.org or from NEIBA officers Jim Shovlin, Tim Kindler, Don Graham, Marge Graham, Jack Massucci, Isabel Alvarez, Dona Schaefer, Larry Windmiller, Bill Derbyshire, Ken Nicolet and Joe Moorhouse. The ticket deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Long-time umpire Feroen Betts of Bryan, Oh., will be the keynote speaker. He was inducted into the NEIBA Hall of Fame in 2002 after umpiring professionally for 34 years. He called both Fort Wayne Pistons' fastpitch softball and Fort Wayne Daisies baseball games, along with countless high school, college and minor league games during his career. He also called games involving more than 20 future Major League stars.

Frick might seem an unlikely choice for induction into this hall of fame, but he was born in the Noble County town of Wawaka and later attended Fort Wayne's International Business College and worked for the Journal Gazette. After working as a journalist in New York, in 1934 he was elected president of the National League, and in 1951 he succeeded Happy Chandler as commissioner of baseball. He retired in 1965 and was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970.

Switzer was honored by the Indiana High School Athletic Association in 2008 with the award for outstanding service to high school baseball and officiating. The Fort Wayne native was also the American Amateur Baseball Congress National Umpire of the Year in 1992 and worked many Stan Musial and Connie Mack national tournaments. He also worked four IHSAA state finals.

Sherman coached the Huntington North baseball team for 38 years until he retired in 2001 with more than 600 wins. His 1992 squad finished second in the state, and the Vikings won 14 sectionals under his direction. He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

The Colin Lister Award honors those who exemplify a profound and distinguished dedication to the game. NEIBA president and long-time Fort Wayne Men's Senior Baseball League leader Jim Shovlin will receive this year's award while also serving as the banquet's host. Shovlin also serves as the public address announcer for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

The Bob Parker Memorial Award recognizes outstanding individuals who promote the game of baseball, and will be awarded to former NEIBA board member Chad Gramling. The Auburn native published the book ``Baseball in Fort Wayne'' in 2007 writes the blog baseballinfortwayne.com.