Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

August 24, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: CP-1 Reunion sends out good vibrations again

ASHLAND — As always, those who came to the CP-1 Reunion in Central Park left feeling like they’d taken a gulp from the Fountain of Youth.

Tales of days gone by were prominent with old friends seeing each other again, some for the first time in decades.

The reunion, started five years ago when Gary Wright’s generous donation refurbished the main diamond in Central Park, saw nearly 150 come to the park on a hot but not so steamy August afternoon.

They were treated to stories about Ashland baseball from the 1960s, a golden era when state championships were the norm from start to finish.

State championships were won in Little League in 1961, 1963 and 1964 and the high school made an unprecedented five-year run from 1965 to 1969 with three state titles, a final four and a runner-up finish.

No team in Kentucky has done it since the Tomcats reign of supremacy.

Not surprisingly, many of the same names that made Ashland Title Town early in the decade were the same ones that kept Ashland Title Town during the high school run.

Almost to a man, they point to the men who coached them at the beginning of their youth league baseball careers.

Some were fathers, others just had a burning passion for baseball.

The late Jim Stewart was a little of both. His memory was recognized as his widow, Fanny Stewart and her two daughters and sons, listened intently to speakers Rick Dixon and Bo Carter talk passionately about how much he meant to them.

In the crowd, there were probably another 25 to 30 players who are considered “Jim’s boys” after playing on either his Tiger teams or one of his All-Star teams.

The day meant a lot to Jim’s daughters, Chere Hallahan and Beverly Vice, and son Jamie, who came along later in life when his father was disabled by stomach ulcers and couldn’t coach.

“Mom leaned over to me once and whispered ‘Your Daddy would have loved to have been here to hear this.’ I told her I’m sure he’s looking down and listening,” said Beverly. “This has meant so much to us.”

Fanny is battling Altheimers but her memory was keen on Saturday as player after player after player came over to speak with her.

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