Ladies and gentlemen,
This is an open letter to the selection committee of the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame:
Over the weekend, I spent some time walking around the Hall of Fame displays in the Columbus Civic Center. You have some neat stuff in there — and some deserving people.
I was there when Charlie Morrow hatched the idea almost 20 years ago. I have not been involved since the earliest days, but over the years I have followed the selections with great interest.
Some I have agreed with. Others I haven’t. But picking a chosen few is not easy, and we should all respect that.
I am writing a nomination letter for Randy Morris, the Northern Little League manager who put Columbus on the international baseball map. And I do so with no hesitation.
As a journalist, I have gotten to know Randy since the 2006 team won the Little League World Series. When he took a team back in the summer of 2010, I spent more than a week in Williamsport, Pa., writing about Northern.
What I saw there was impressive — and it wasn’t just the kids. It was Randy, how he carried himself and how he represented Columbus. And it was about how his players carried themselves — on and off the field. They were respectful of the everyone from the cafeteria workers to the “uncles” assigned to the team to the opposing teams. And they took that lead from Randy.
You never saw Randy when he wasn’t thanking someone for what they did for him and his players. He knew it was an honor to be in that compound overlooking a 12-year-old’s idea of baseball heaven.
And Randy respected that in a way that was both obvious and refreshing.
His players played the game with confidence — and a certain amount of cockiness that came with knowing how to play baseball right. The manager of the Ohio team complained that one of the Columbus players was stealing signs from second base and alerting the hitter what pitch was coming.
When asked about it at a news conference with ESPN cameras rolling, Columbus catcher Blake Hicks said it was part of baseball, and if the coach didn’t want the signs stolen, then his team should do a better part of hiding them.
That’s the same thing Randy said, just not as blunt.
As a Little League baseball coach, Randy has worked with hundreds of kids — not just the all-stars — teaching them how to throw, hit and field.
Coaching Little League may be the toughest volunteer job in Columbus. Randy is masterful in the way he teaches kids fundamentals and handles the parents.
That is only part of the reason Randy belongs in the Hall. He should also be there because of the goodwill he has brought to this city. Columbus has no better ambassador.
I remember Charlie Morrow saying the Hall of Fame was for those who have done great things for the Chattahoochee Valley. Randy has done that.
He’s also done it the right way.
I respectfully ask that you put him in the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame.
He belongs there.