Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

December 7, 2009

Umpire ready for another trip home

Nobody has to twist Charlie Reliford’s arm to convince him to visit the area.

The veteran major league umpire lives in Bradenton, Fla., but always calls Ashland home.

Reliford has accepted an invitation to speak at the sixth annual Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet on Jan. 13. The event is a fundraiser for the upkeep on the giant murals depicting professional baseball greats with Portsmouth area connections.

Reliford is a fan of the murals and the event.

“It’s one of the events I enjoy so much every year,” he said. “They pretty much speak my language — baseball and the people from this area. The murals are something I tell people about all the time. They’re spectacular.”

Many of the honorees who appear on the flood wall’s 20-foot murals typically attend the event. Some of them included: legendary Cincinnati Reds super scout Gene Bennett, former major league umpire Terry Craft, former Reds and Yankees pitching great Don Gullett, former Brewers great Larry Hisle, former Pirate great Al Oliver, former A’s World Series hero Gene Tenace and former New York Met John Stephenson.

The event always draws a prominent list of representatives from major league baseball, including members of the Cincinnati Reds front office and fellow area umpire Greg Gibson, among others.

“The whole Cincinnati Reds front office was there last year,” Reliford said. “Old coaches that were around and officials that were around when I was growing up in the area, people like Bill Newman and Bobby Kouns. There’s a wide variety of people involved with sports in the area.”

Reliford, who has battled nagging injuries the past couple of seasons, is busy this offseason with duties regarding the baseball rules committee. He is one of nine members on the committee. He left for the winter meeting in Chicago on Sunday and will be meeting with other members of the rules committee.

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