Capahas manager earns induction into hall of fame

Thursday, July 17, 2008
AARON EISENHAUER ~ Capahas manager Jess Bolen has posted a 1,331-346 record in 42 seasons.

Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver, Tony Gwynn and Satchel Paige are just some of the famous names that grace the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame.

Cape Girardeau's Jess Bolen soon will join that list.

Bolen, the Plaza Tire Capahas' longtime manager, was notified Wednesday that he will be inducted into the NBC Hall of Fame during next month's NBC World Series in Wichita, Kan.

After being nominated last year but narrowly missing election, Bolen finally made the cut this time.

"It's an honor. That's national, that's not something that happens 50 miles from Cape," Bolen said. "It's nice to be recognized. If you didn't feel honored, it would be a slap in the face to the program."

Bolen is in his 42nd season in charge of what is believed to be the nation's oldest amateur baseball team. His career record is 1,331-346, including a 22-5 mark this year.

The Capahas recently clinched their 27th consecutive berth in the prestigious NBC World Series, which will be played Aug. 1 through 15.

KIT DOYLE ~ Capahas coach Jess Bolen on Saturday, July 7, 2007.

Bolen, who will be inducted into the NBC Hall of Fame before one of the feature games at the NBC World Series, said he wishes his wife Mary could share the honor.

"I feel everything we do for the Capahas is kind of a shared burden with Mary. I'm only 50 percent of it," Bolen said. "She's got so much to do with this team. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have been in it this long. I feel like Mary does half the work, but I get all the credit."

The NBC Hall of Fame, established in 1991, currently features 69 members, which will grow by several when the entire 2008 class is finalized.

Among those inducted during the inaugural class in 1991 were Paige, Seaver, Don Sutton, Dave Winfield, Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin.

A host of other former major league players and managers have been inducted since. All made their mark as players at the NBC World Series before reaching stardom.

Now that group will include Bolen, who has led the Capahas to numerous top-10 finishes at the NBC World Series, including seventh place last year.

"I look at this [the induction] as we've elevated the Capahas to that type of thinking around the nation, that we've had a good ballclub and can compete out there, and now somebody from the organization is in there," Bolen said. "But the real reward for me is the people I meet and the kids I've coached over the years, and all their families. That's my reward."

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