In honor of the area’s rich baseball history, the City of Portsmouth has issued a proclamation naming Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Portsmouth Murals, Inc. Baseball Day. Portsmouth City Mayor Jim Kalb will be reading the proclamation at the City’s next City Council meeting as well as at the 13th Annual Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet on Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Life Center in Portsmouth.
“I am excited and honored to be a part of this year’s ‘Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet,’ Kalb stated. “Our city is rich with history and legends of baseball as depicted by some of our world famous floodwall murals. This annual event provides an opportunity to meet some of those legends, hear their stories and show your support for the upkeep and expansion of Portsmouth’s largest tourist attraction, our murals.”
The proclamation welcomes this year’s keynote speaker Doug Flynn, a former major league player for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets.
It further states, “Baseball fans from throughout the area join with many local and regional baseball celebrities including Gene Bennett and Al Oliver as well as baseball celebrity guests, predominately from the Cincinnati Reds organization.”
The Annual Baseball Banquet honors local heroes as part of the Portsmouth Murals, which started in 1992 as a project to depicts the Portsmouth Area’s rich history.
“The annual banquet always attracts a large crowd,” Morton said.
Among those pictured on the murals are Gene Bennett, of Wheelersburg, retired senior special assistant to the General Manager and former scout for the Cincinnati Reds; Al Oliver, former Pittsburgh Pirates player; Don Gullett, former pitcher and pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds; Josh Newman, former player for the Colorado Rockies; Tim Maxey, strength and conditioning coordinator for Major League Baseball; Pat Borders, former Toronto Blue Jays player; and Major League Umpire Greg Gibson.
Each year the banquet hosts several baseball greats from announcers and writers to players from teams around the country, many of which have played in a World Series game. The event brings decades of baseball history and accomplishments together in one room.
“The banquet attracts as many as 50 other dignitaries and has included over the past many years Hal McCoy, retired Hall of Fame Beat Writer for the Dayton Daily News,” Morton explained.
In celebration of the banquet, the Portsmouth Holiday in offered a book signing that included Lee Lowenfish, of New York with his book “Branch Rickey”; Bennett, with his book “My 58 Years with the Cincinnati Reds”; Al Oliver, of Portsmouth, with his book “Life is a Hit, Don’t Strike Out”; and National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s Hall of Famer Hal McCoy, of Dayton, with his book “My Half Century with the Reds.”
The proclamation encourages “all citizens to recognize Portsmouth’s extensive baseball heritage and Portsmouth Murals, Inc. dedication to perserving and celebrating heritage.”
Tickets for the baseball banquet are $50 each. They can be purchased at the Scioto County Welcome Center Chamber Office located at 342 Second St., Portsmouth from 8 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.