SOUTH SHORE, Ky. — It was a smothering hot summer evening Saturday when Shultz Field, located in South Shore, celebrated its 50th year. Despite that, baseball fans from the surrounding area came together with sweat on their brows and smiles on their faces.
For around 150 years, amateur baseball has been a staple in the Tri State. And for the last 50 years, Shultz field has been home to the Shultz Creek Bearcats. Whether it hosted these amateur baseball games, which featured former high school players from all over the region, the Del Rice League, or the occasional youth game, the field has seen its share of young men turn into adults.
Even with the history of the field, the small celebration originally planned was just a featured game between Shultz Creek and Morehead. However, owner Bob Bryson decided to do some renovations to the field, which included a new scoreboard, press box, lights and a large grandstand for the spectators.
More than the renovations, though, Bob started to network with his old friends. Everything seemed to come together for a magical, nostalgic night of baseball.
“This surpasses what I had envisioned, definitely,” said Bryson. “Originally I just wanted to host a night game with the Morehead guys. In the last six weeks, we decided to throw together a legends game. I thought it’d be nice to have a bunch of former players come together on the field again.
“And then all of a sudden, guys I haven’t heard from in 40 years start contacting me. Some of them were just thrilled with what we were doing. This is what our community used to do for entertainment. Back before movies, people would get together and watch a baseball game. Tonight, this is a throwback to those old times so long ago.”
Before the game, a bench was dedicated to Bryson’s late mother Gladys. Gladys was the Bearcat’s biggest fan. A personal statement from Kentucky governor Matt Bevin was read over the PA stressing the importance of baseball for our communities.
Then, former Reds’ pitcher and South Shore legend Don Gullett took the field, awaiting the arrival of the game balls via helicopter. After they were delivered in grand fashion, Gullett threw the customary first pitch.
“It’s truly an honor to be here,” said Gullett. “I’m just glad I could make it. This is a great day for South Shore.”
Also making an appearance was former MLB umpire Terry Craft, as well as former Reds’ scout and Wheelersburg native Gene Bennett.
As the sun began to set, the new lights were turned on. With the aroma of hot dogs in the air, and people reconnecting with each other one thing is for certain: Shultz Field will continue to be a treasured relic of the community.