Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Softball Hall of Fame Class a Stellar One

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Softball Hall of Fame Class a Stellar One

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | On the field, they were rivals. Off the field, they were, and remain, part of a brotherhood that starred in a golden age of men's softball, where hundreds flocked to their games and players became lifelong friends.

On Jan. 19, Northport's Bobby Jones and Coker's Bruce Evans will be two among a class of eight that includes former Tuscaloosan Hershel Lake, who will be inducted into the Alabama Amateur Softball Hall of Fame. The event will be held at the Jerry Belk Activity Center, the new home to the hall.

"It was one of the most enjoyable times of my life," said Jones, 62, who retired in 2006 after 30 years as Tuscaloosa County High's basketball coach. "It's very humbling. There are probably a lot more deserving people than me. To have the ceremony and now the Hall of Fame in Tuscaloosa makes it even more special. Tuscaloosa was a hotbed for softball, so it's fitting that the hall of fame would move here."

Parks Burgin is the chairman of the selection committee and played on teams with, and against, both Jones and Evans.

"Bobby was the glue that held the team together. He was really steady. He was a good defensive ball player, don't get me wrong. And he was a real good hitter. But his character was worth more to the team, in my opinion, than his athletic ability, which was considerable. He was the kind of guy who settled a team down if they got too excited. He was just a solid, steady ball player," Burgin said. "On top of all that with the softball, his character was super. He coached at County High for years, worked with those young people. That means a whole lot, too. When you have an outstanding citizen to go with an outstanding ball player, that's hard to beat. That's one of the reasons I voted for him, the whole shooting match."

Jones is being inducted as a fast-pitch player. He started playing in the 1970s, beginning with Wayne Smith and Miller's Grocery. From the mid-70s to the early '80s, the former shortstop played for John Plott, advancing to nationals in 1982. He's also in the West Alabama Softball Hall of Fame, along with his mother, the late Jessie Jones.

"It was just a great time," said Jones, who like Evans and others, was recruited to play on teams. …

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