Southeast Missouri Baseball Hall of Fame bios

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Harold "Hallie" Norman, of Dexter

Hallie Norman began his playing days in the sandlots of Southeast Missouri. As a teenager, he was invited to play on the Dexter City team in the "Independent League of Southern Missouri." This league consisted of teams from Dexter, Poplar Bluff, Doniphan, Sikeston, Cape Girardeau, Malden and Kennett. The reason for this early invitation was his hitting. Hallie hit over .300 every year he played. He also hit for power. With time, he matured into a very slick fielding shortstop with great range and speed. In 1924, the Dexter team joined the new "Southeast Missouri League." For the next four years, Hallie was selected as an all-star in this league. The Dexter team then rejoined the Independent League in 1929. Hallie continued to lead the league for shortstops both defensively and offensively for the next six years. After his playing days were over, he devoted much time to the youth leagues in Parma. He willingly instructed, managed and taught baseball.

David McClarty, of Lilborn

Dave McClarty started his playing career in the youth leagues of Lilborn, Mo. He played Little League for four years. Dave was an all-star catcher by the time he played three years of pony league. Connie Mack and high school was next. Good catchers are always hard to find and Dave was good not only behind the plate but with a stick. Dave was a team leader with the Lilborn High School team for three years before going to Sikeston for his senior year. He was instrumental in Sikeston's drive in the state tournament that year. Sikeston made it to the final eight and Dave was recognized by being selected for the all-state second team. Dave played three years of American Legion baseball. He played eight years of ball in the "Southeast Missouri Independent League" as a catcher and first baseman. He also played one year of college ball. After Dave hung up his cleats, he turned his attention to helping the youth leagues in Lilborn. For 10 years, Dave coached and umpired. He never took payment for his many nights of umpiring. Between his free services and many donations sponsoring teams, the leagues of Lilborn have been helped greatly.

Edgar Rellergert, of Jackson

Edgar began his playing career with Old Appleton in the Perry County junior league at the age of 12. He played from 1941 to 1944 on this team. His strong pitching talent helped them win the league championship in two of these years. He was selected as the league MVP once. When he was 16, he joined the Old Appleton Yanks of the Perry County senior league. He played with this team from 1945 to 1950. Again he was selected as the league's MVP and best pitcher. Three times his team won the league championship. In 1950 while playing for the Capahas, he pitched against a major league barnstorming team and won 4-2. He struck out 10 batters that day. It must have gotten someone's attention because he was signed to a minor league contract shortly after that. Edgar played two years in the minors -- one with the Browns organization and one with the White Sox organization. He came back to play seven more years for the Old Appleton Yanks, where he finished out his pitching career.

Jerry Holland, of Bertrand

Jerry Holland played his early baseball in East Praire, Mo. Upon entering high school, he tried out for the baseball team and made it. He played for the East Prairie Eagles for three years -- 1950 to 1952. An outstanding outfielder he played both center and right field, Jerry was one of the better hitters on the team. He hit better than .300 throughout his high school career. Jerry next played for the Bement Baptist Chiefs of the Tri-State League. Over the next seven seasons, Jerry would catch, manage and play second base. His batting average stayed near .350 in this league. In 1966, Jerry was asked to coach Little League in Bertrand. For five seasons he worked with the youth leagues. Jerry worked hard managing, doing field prep, umpiring and getting boys to games. His dedication to baseball was evident to all.

Victor G. Adams, of Fisk

Victor Adams grew up playing baseball in the Fisk area. As a young man, he was invited to play for the town's independent men's team. His quick bat and fastball drew much attention for one so young. From 1948 to 1950, he played for both Dexter and Poplar Bluff. He hit five home runs in one tournament held in Cape by the Capahas. Gene Beardon of the Cleveland Indians brought a group of barnstorming major leaguers through Poplar Bluff in 1949. The Poplar Bluff team lost 5-1. Vic hit a solo home run for the only score by his team. Vic was drafted into the Army in 1951. While stationed in Fort Sill, Okla., he pitched and played outfield for the first-string team on the base. After the Army, Vic went to Arkansas State University and played one season there. He coached at the Fisk-Rombauer High School from 1957 to 1963. He also coached in the Fisk Little League program from 1966 to 1972. His dedication to baseball has been seen in his efforts to install lights, bleachers, concessions and rest room facilities for the Fisk youth leagues.

Bob Johnson, of Poplar Bluff

Bob Johnson began playing organized ball with the Greenville town team when he was 16. He was a hard-throwing pitcher and fast outfielder. He played for Greenville from 1946 to 1948. He also played Junior Legion ball for Piedmont in 1948. As an outfielder, he hit well over .300 for coach Gari Childress. Bob joined the Poplar Bluff team of the SEMO league in 1949 as a pitcher. He moved to the Brosely team for 1950 and 1951. In 1951, he was signed by the St. Louis Browns to a minor league contract. This was a big thrill for Bob. Coming back to Poplar Bluff, he played 12 more years in the SEMO league. Bob was always a dependable pitcher. He helped lead his teams to five SEMO league championships during his playing days. After hanging up his cleats, he spent 10 seasons working with the senior Babe Ruth leagues. Bob also spent seven years with the junior Babe leagues.

Raymond Lewis, of Jackson

Raymond Lewis played his first organized baseball for the Jackson Monarchs. Lewis was a hard-hitting outfielder. His great speed served him well on the bases and in the field. His defensive skills were well known. When in center field, he patrolled far and wide with great ability. Between the Jackson Monarchs and the Jackson Giants of the Perry County men's league, he played 12 years before his untimely death in 1956. Ray played on three of the Jackson Giants league champion teams. Lewis' batting average was always above .300 and many times at .400. According to Jim Turner of the same league, "Ray Lewis was the best pure hitter I ever saw." Ray was the first African-American to play in the Perry County League. He was the Jackie Robinson of Southeast Missouri amateur baseball.

Steve Shelton, of Jackson

Steve Shelton grew up in the small town of Puxico, Mo. Puxico has a rich baseball tradition as shown by its many inductees in our hall of fame. Steve played Little League in the Puxico public youth league. He played four years as a pitcher and infielder. A strong arm and a quick bat helped him be chosen as an all-star. He then played pony league for three years. Again he was a top player in the league. His strong hitting and solid pitching would lead his teams. Steve played three years of Connie Mack ball and four years of high school ball. Somewhere about this time Steve developed his curveball and learned how to use it effectively. It was nasty, or wicked if you prefer. It was a 12 to 6 that looked like it would be at your waste and then hit the dirt right behind the plate. Steve batted over .600 in high school and over .400 for the Poplar Bluff American Legion team after graduation. His pitching and strong infield play landed him a scholarship at Southeast Missouri State playing for Joe Uhls. Steve would play four seasons with the Indians. He would also play two years with the Capahas under Jess Bolen. After graduation, Steve would play one season for the Jackson Braves of the Bi-State league. After he quit playing, Steve worked in the youth leagues of Sikeston. Steve has put in over 12 years of work, ranging from Little League to junior and senior Babe Ruth. Steve will tell you working with the boys has been his best times in baseball. But just ask him about the time he struck out the side to finish an American Legion game because he will not tell you if you do not ask.

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