Cherokee High School is home to Tommy Baker Field. I didn’t know Tommy Baker, but I am sure some of you did. Sequoyah High School is home to Skip Pope Stadium. Again, I didn’t know Skip Pope personally, but did know of him.
Downtown Canton is home to James Cannon Park. I was privileged to know Mr. Cannon before his death.
We also have Hasty Elementary School named after William (Bill) Hasty Sr. Mr. Hasty contributed much to our community in addition to being a writer.
His son Billy said to me not too long ago that he enjoyed my columns and that they reminded him of the way his dad wrote. I said thank you but I’m not sure if he knew how humbling that was. My writing will never be the caliber of his dad’s.
Just recently, the Board of Commissioners announced that the new law enforcement training facility will be named for Sheriff Roger Garrison. Again, this is another worthy compliment to someone who has made a difference.
There are more, but you get the picture.
Recently the Board of Commissioners announced that the name of the new baseball complex on Univeter Road would be the Richard Mauldin Baseball Complex. There are many that call him Hunkey, but I have always called him Mr. Mauldin. And I always will.
The Mauldin family has been in the Sixes Community for years. They are a family that everyone in the community knows. Mr. Mauldin is married to his beautiful wife Joyce. They have three beautiful daughters; Joy, Paige and Mandy.
Joy and I spent many hours on the telephone as friends when we were growing up. It wasn’t one of those boyfriend girlfriend deals. We were just friends. Now, one of us might have been willing to have pursued more, but it wasn’t happening.
And just so there is no confusion, it wasn’t her that would have pursued more. But I appreciated her friendship.
Mr. Mauldin played professional baseball many years ago. And although that didn’t become his primary source of income, he has never lost his love for the game. He has also never lost his love for the many people in Cherokee County that loved the game like he did and showed it through their support of youth baseball.
I remember Mr. Mauldin coming to the commissioners’ meetings asking about the status of the new park. He stayed on them and they listened. He was always plain spoken when it seemed the building of the park had stalled. But he was always respectful. And that is why they listened.
Once the construction was under way, Mr. Mauldin asked that the names of some of the people who had contributed so much to youth baseball in Cherokee County be recognized at this park. His name was not on the list he provided.
He actually called me and we discussed a list of names that he thought deserved to be recognized. Not once in that conversation did he allude to the fact he should be on the list.
But I certainly appreciated his confidence in me to discuss it. Or it could be that I was the only one he could get on the phone that day. Either way, I enjoyed reminiscing with him.
Many years from now after I am long gone, there will be a Richard Mauldin Baseball Complex in Cherokee County. And to those that know him, it will always be more than just a name of a park. It will be about the man we know.
Mr. Mauldin may not have played baseball as his career. But his efforts have certainly grown the sport that he so dearly loves. And if we had a crystal ball I believe it would show that he did more for the sport than he ever would have as a professional. And unlike many, he will see his impact while he is still alive.
Many of us end up in different professions that we sometimes think. Joy told me many times that Paige was going to be a gymnast. She was about 6 at the time. But life changes.
I’m relatively sure the only place you will see my name after I die is on a headstone. Maybe.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.