TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Shawnee County Baseball Hall of Fame now includes 9 new honorees. The organization held its sixth annual banquet Wednesday.
Bob Lee accepts his award for his induction into the Shawnee County Baseball Hall of Fame. (Nicole Feyh/WIBW Sports)
Eight individuals were honored, including Don Carlile, Rick DeHart, Don Free, Dale Gear, Bob Lee, Frank Magee, John Price and Mary Turkington. The Mosby-Mack American Legion team was also inducted.
The event also featured Tom Burgmeier as its keynote speaker. Burgmeier is a former MLB reliever who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1968 American League Expansion Draft. Burgmeier was the second pitcher to ever throw for the Royals, and debuted in the franchise's first game against the Minnesota Twins in 1969.
DeHart began his major league baseball career with the Montreal Expos in 1997 after spending five years in the minor leagues. He finished his MLB career in 2003 with the Royals.
"I was never the best athlete on the team or the fastest guy or the best hitter," said DeHart, former reliever for the Kansas City Royals. "I just had the desire, the love. Being in Topeka, I just want people to know that no matter where you're from, how big or how fast you are, you can always have the opportunity if you have the desire and believe in yourself.
"This is a great honor."
Carlile was the founder and the general manager of the Topeka Capitals, and led the organization for 11 seasons in the Jayhawk League. Turkington helped Carlile build the organization and served as the president of the club for 10 years.
Free, a former engineer at WIBW, spend 50 years in broadcast, including 32 seasons with the Kansas City Royals radio network.
Gear played for Cleveland and Washington in his time in the majors, and after became the president of the Southwestern and Western Leagues.
Lee is a former Topeka High baseball star who spent seven seasons in the minors. He signed with the New York Yankees out of high school, then went on to play for the Topeka Owls and coach at Washburn.
Magee, who now coaches at Valley Falls High School, was a longtime summer league and area high school coach. He coached three players to the majors and several others who signed professional contracts.
Price is an umpire who worked at the American Legion, semi-pro and Big Eight levels after starting his trade in 1973.
The Mosby-Mack American Legion team was a dominant area baseball team that won six state titles in a ten year span (1945-1955). The team made eight appearances in the state championship during that time.