Youth league honors McDonald for service

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Commissioners of youth sports leagues are generally anonymous folks who do a lot of work without much recognition.

Rick McDonald received a few thank-yous Tuesday night for his 10 years of service as commissioner of the Cape Girardeau Girls Softball League.

McDonald, who suffered a stroke two years ago, threw out the first pitch on Arena Park's field No. 3 to start the season. The newly constructed pavilion between fields Nos. 2 and 3 was named in his honor.

"This is an honor," McDonald said. "I'm very grateful to them for doing that. A lot of guys worked to put this [pavilion] up."

McDonald credited his predecessor as commissioner, Eddie Keys, and the treasurer for many years for both commissioners, Terry Ashby, for their work with the league.

But the center of attention Tuesday was McDonald.

"Rick put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears," current commissioner John Hedrick said during the ceremony. "A lot of what we have around here is due to Rick."

The pavilion was one of McDonald's goals during his time leading the league. He also oversaw the building of field No. 5, the batting cages and nearly all of the buildings at the facility.

"We made quite a few improvements," McDonald said, "but a lot of people helped."

McDonald, who coached for four years before his service as commissioner, said he became involved with the league because of his three daughters.

"I had three girls, and they all played high school ball and college ball," said McDonald, whose first pitch was caught by his daughter, Megan, who completed her freshman season at Southeast Missouri State this spring by being named to the Ohio Valley Conference first team.

"He's a living legend around here," Hedrick said. "An icon."

McDonald's wife, Donna, also has been active in the league and currently is on the board as the secretary.

The Cape Girardeau Girls Softball League has approximately 520 children ages 5 to 18 playing on 37 teams. The league had about 350 players, McDonald said, when he became commissioner 12 years ago.

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