7 Selected to Class of 2020
2020 Ambassador is Dick Pavlak
By TOM GIFFEN
Roy Hobbs Baseball
The Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame Class of 2020 includes 7 gentlemen players, administrators and managers.
And 89-year-old Dick Pavlak will be honored as the 2020 Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball. Dick continues to play and pitch in the 50s division of the Miami Valley RH League in SW Ohio.
The Class of 2020 includes playing administrator/managers Ronnie Alexander (South Carolina), Flip Harrison (Virginia), Dick Hill (Maine) and John Oehlers (Ohio), along with 3 players: David Darrah (Florida), David Fauth (Minnesota) and Eric Sallee (Washington).
Short biographical data on the eight 2020 honorees appear below.
Due to issues surrounding the Covid-19 plague, Roy Hobbs will not be holding a celebratory induction gathering this fall. However, in its place will be a virtual presentation of the honorees receiving their rings and their opportunities to respond to their inclusion. It has yet to be determined whether those will be live or be video’d and combined into one presentation for Facebook and YouTube off this website. Stay tuned.
Ronnie Alexander has been a fixture at the Roy Hobbs World Series 2004, but it is his work back home in South Carolina and North Carolina that propelled him to the Hall of Fame.
As a manager, administrator and coach in the Easley Adult Baseball League, he has made it possible for perhaps hundreds of men to play the game.
If not for Alexander, there would not be an Easley League. He made it happen and made it function. He donated money and works the fields and umpires and arranges schedules. In addition to running a 35-plus age league he also started a league for players 17 and older.
He has also been a part of 3 Roy Hobbs World Series championship teams. He’s been a key member of the Carolina Rockies and Asheville Sox.
Alexander has applied the same relentless work ethic and dedication that he displayed in South Carolina with his league in western North Carolina.
Both leagues are the better for having Ronnie Alexander.
Dave Darrah has been a fixture, all-star and driving force behind the Florida-based American Baseball Club for 34 years.
He’s an outstanding position player and pitcher known as “Super Dave” and described as a quiet leader, legendarily smart pitcher and positive competitor.
Darrah has been coming to the World Series since 1993. All that time it has been as a member of the Americans Baseball Club, which is based on Florida’s east coast. His teammates think of Darrah as “representing the best of all of us.”
His combination of playing skills, leadership and work as the co-manager helped earn Darrah his election. His character was also critical in garnering votes.
He’s shared his room or house with teammates at the World Series and often pays for meals and drinks for teammates.
Darrah has been a perennial all-star in his league and has been his team’s MVP at the Roy Hobbs World Series as long ago as 1998 and as recent as 2018.
Dave Fauth is that rare player whose extraordinary on-field achievements, coupled with his quiet leadership in the dugout and outstanding personal character, paved the way to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame.
He’s excelled against the toughest competition in AAAA. Fauth usually bats third or fourth for the HPK Oilers, who have won multiple AAAA championships. He’s been with the Oilers for more than 15 years.
In 14 World Series Fauth has hit .461 with more than 9 RBI per year. He’s twice been a team MVP. In 2011, he hit an otherworldly .684 with 14 RBI. In 2004 he had 15 RBI.
Fauth has hit more than .600 twice and four times has hit better than .500. That has all been against the toughest competition that Roy Hobbs offers.
Teammates credit him with leadership in the dugout, from moments aside of encouragement, to “walking the talk” never taking an at-bat or play in the field off, to reminders that it’s a game and it is to be enjoyed every moment of being able to play.
Fauth started playing amateur baseball in 1979, the year he graduated from high school. In addition to his playing ability, he also sponsors a summer league team.
Flip Harrison is one those essential organizational wizards who make adult baseball possible for others to play the game.
He earned election to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame through many years as a player, coach, administrator and commissioner in the over 30 Virginia Baseball Congress.
Harrison was its commissioner for 10 years, running the day-to-day operations and under his leadership the league tripled in size, from 4 teams to 12.
He’s also been a fixture at the Roy Hobbs World Series for nearly a quarter of a century. This year will be Harrison’s 23rd trip to the World Series with the Richmond RiverDogs. The RiverDogs won an AA title in 2000. He was team MVP in 2006 and 2016.
Harrison is also a force for good in his community helping organize events for Virginia Special Olympics and other charities. He also organizes an annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the Richmond area for less fortunate citizens and has served as many as 5,500 meals to the needy in a day.
Dick Hill is a founding father and a life-long baseball man.
He was an accomplished player as a youth and played baseball and hockey and helped organize and play on the soccer team at the University of New Hampshire. After college, he played on amateur men’s baseball teams in Manchester NH, Yarmouth Me, and semi-pro ball in Coaticook, Maine.
Hill then signed a contract to pitch in the Boston Red Sox organization. He pitched for Boston’s minor league affiliates in Waterloo, Iowa, and Covington, Va. After he stopped playing, he pitched batting practice for the Red Sox and was Tony Conigliaro’s personal BP pitcher when he was rehabbing from his (eventual) career ending beaning.
After 19 years of coaching Little League and playing in the Mid-Coast Maine men’s league, he founded the Maine Woods league in 2001 and came to the Roy Hobbs World Series for the first time that year with the Bergen Yankees.
In 2005, he founded the Boston Braves 48s and 55s, which have now become the Maine Woods teams in 60s, 65s & 75s.
Through his hard work hundreds of men have been able to play baseball. He is referred to as a “hero” by many of the players on the Maine Woods and Boston Braves teams because of the opportunity he has provided them.
His teams have won a title in AAAA in 2011 in 65s and in AA 70s in 2019.
Hill was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.
John Oehlers has been a fixture on one of the best-known teams in Roy Hobbs history.
Oehlers has played for Harry Young builders since 1994. For many years he helped run the team and kept statistics.
In the 1996 World Series, he pitched 2 complete games in the championship round and was used as a pinch runner in the title game and scored the winning run.
And he repeated the playoff pitching performance in 2013. As one opposing manager said, “John is not overpowering, he just gets people out!”
After Harry Young died in 2014, John assisted Harry’s widow Marlene to keep the team going. He was described as the “glue that kept team alive.” And, to this day, he keeps in touch with Marlene Young.
Oehlers has played on four Roy Hobbs World Series championship teams and been team MVP five times. He has also played on 14 teams that won the Toledo league.
In addition to playing for Harry Young in the World Series, Oehlers has played in the World Series for the Border City Brewers, Toledo Paramount, Glass City Black Sox, Massachusetts Chiefs and McGuire Insurance, in multiple age divisions.
Oehlers is known for this attention to detail and to his teammates needs; much of what he does is behind the scenes, trying to help meet the needs of those around him. He organized a fund-raiser to help fund a kidney transplant for a diabetic teammate. He keeps in touch with former teammates, one of whom said Oehlers has a sixth sense about the needs of others.
The tireless Oehlers has also coached Little League and travel ball teams.
Eric Sallee’s competitiveness and character can be summed up with a comment from his Hall of Fame vetting report.
“He is a rattlesnake on the field and is a rabbit in the dugout.”
Sallee combined playing talent, organizational ability, leadership, intelligence and a humble nature to earn his way into the Hall of Fame.
As a pitcher he’s won more than 250 games in senior baseball competition. He’s been part of 8 Roy Hobbs World Series championship teams.
He threw a no-hitter in the title game of the 2007 Roy Hobbs Vegas Baseball Classic. He’s recruited players and built teams in the Seattle area.
He’s played in the Roy Hobbs World Series 19 times since 1993. Sallee convinced the Tacoma Senior Baseball League to become a Roy Hobbs member league.
In the dugout, he’s known as the quiet leader, even as a Hobbs manager of the Auburn Angels in the 1990s. While incredibly focused on the mound, in the dugout he encourages teammates, works with them and leads by example. He is a student of the game.
In 1998, Sallee became an original member of the Roy Hobbs Advisory Committee.
Sallee, a CPA, quietly proves financial aid to players and their families.
He is also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.
2020 Brian Mullen
Ambassador of Baseball
Dick is 89, continues to compete in the Miami Valley Roy Hobbs League on a 50s team where he pitches, hits and runs in 2 games a week. He is also playing softball and plays 3 games a week, something that us baseball folks give him a hard time about. He has always been able to run but he says he’s slowed down the last couple of years.
Here is a guy who is passionate about baseball and represents the game and the best of what baseball competition is all about.
At the 2019 RHWS, he pitched and won 3 games in the 75s as his team won the AA Division – 2 complete games in pool play, relieved in tied championship game, pitched 3 innings to get the win.
Dick played high school ball, went to a college with no baseball, so started playing amateur ball while in school. Once graduated, he stopped as it conflicted with his job as a traveling salesman. He returned to softball in the early 1980s and back to baseball in the 1990s; he came to his first RHWS in 1995 (and hasn’t missed a year since) with his son Randy on the Dayton Ducks, went home and started playing in the Dayton summer league in 1996.
During an 11-year stint from 2004-2015, he played all 4 weeks of Hobbs, plus the Sunshine Classic and on some father-son teams … by all estimates, Dick has probably competed in at least 1000 RH tournament games and perhaps as many has 2000 games since 1995.
He has been on 2-3 championship teams, including the 2012 Akron Knights father-son championship team. In the semifinal game, he was scheduled to hit in the bottom of the 5th with 2 outs, bases loaded and tie score, facing a 20-year-old pitcher. He was asked to bunt the second pitch. He laid down a perfect bunt between pitcher and 1B … base hit, go-ahead run scored and that led to 3 more runs to win the game.
Dick is a gentleman, a ballplayer and an inspiration. As HoF Member & Trustee Mike Shevlin said, “I want to be him when I grow up!”