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Local baseball hall to induct two, honor three more

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Follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.

Graham, Miller will be inducted

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 5:37 pm

Longtime Portland sponsor and coach Ray Miller and Northeast Indiana Baseball Association backbone Don Graham will be inducted into the NEIBA Hall of Fame Oct. 25 at the organization's annual banquet at Classic Cafe Catering and Event Center.

Former East Noble coach and longtime Kendallville broadcaster Fred Inniger and WPTA sports broadcaster Dean Pantazi will receive the Bob Parker Memorial Award for promoting the game, and Marge Graham will receive the Colin Lister Award for service to the game.

Miller, who passed away in 2007 at age 79, won more than 900 games during his 30-plus years in the sport. He took over the Portland Rockets in 1972 and was inducted into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

For more than 25 years, Don Graham has been collecting Fort Wayne sports memorabilia, including programs from the Daisies, Pistons softball and basketball, Fort Wayne amateur and pro baseball and the Komets. He became involved in the Fort Wayne Oldtimers Baseball Association in 1998 and was instrumental in the organization's transition to the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association in 2003, serving as its secretary to this day. He is also editor of the organization's quarterly news publication Line Drives.

Pantazi joined the WPTA staff in 1974 as a sports reporter and eventually became sports director. He co-hosted WOWO's SportsTalk from 1985 to 2001. He has been honored for distinguished service from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association, and the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2011.

Inniger is a former baseball coach at East Noble High School where he also coached girls and boys basketball and softball. He continues to broadcast on WAWK, 95.5-FM in Kendallville and in 2001 he won the Virgil Sweet Award from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association for his contributions to the sport. Inniger was inducted into the Indiana Sportscasters, and Sportswriters Association Hall Of Fame in 2007.

Marge Graham, wife of Don Graham, was the NEIBA treasurer from 2005 to 2012, generally helping out however necessary. She has worked at the Allen County Public Library as a professional researcher since 1981, specializing in genealogy.

Fort Wayne TinCaps announcer Mike Couzens will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased by mail at NEIBA, PO Box 12733, Fort Wayne, IN 46864; via neibaseball.org or from NEIBA board members Larry Windmiller, Jack Massucci, Bill Derbyshire, Joe Moorhouse, Don Graham or Kay Windmiller. For more information email linedrives9@aol.com.