02/02/07 — Wayne County Hot Stove League: Narron addresses overflow crowd

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Wayne County Hot Stove League: Narron addresses overflow crowd

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on February 2, 2007 2:12 PM

More than 200 people were on hand for the inaugural Wayne County Hot Stove League Banquet on Thursday night at the Eastern Carolina Athletic Park.

Cincinnati Reds manager and Goldsboro native Jerry Narron was the night's guest speaker as proceeds from the event benefit youth baseball programs around the area.

Narron, who played eight seasons in the big leagues as catcher with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and California Angels, urged the young baseball players in attendance to always aim high.

"It's been a dream," Narron said of his career. "The only thing I ever wanted to do was be a Major League Baseball player. I didn't go around telling people that, but to you kids out here, set your goals high. If you want to be a Major League Baseball player, don't be afraid to set that as your goal."

Narron said hard work, a good attitude, working on your weaknesses, taking the highs and lows in stride and being a team player will make you successful on the field -- and in life.

"You've got to believe in yourself," Narron said. "If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. I'm a big believer in visualization -- seeing yourself be successful. So see yourself playing the game the right way."

Fellow former big leaguer and ex-New York Yankees manager and general manager Clyde King was also on hand, as were local coaching legends Doyle Whitfield and John Thomas.

"Wayne County does have a great tradition of baseball," said banquet organizer and former Spring Creek coach Roger May. "Jerry Narron, Clyde King, Doyle Whitfield and John Thomas, these guys right here signify what baseball is and what Wayne County has to offer. All four of these guys have had awesome achievements and they're all great ambassadors of the game.

"They represent us well."

Awards were presented in honor of King, Narron, Whitfield and Thomas.

The Clyde King Award, given to an area player who has demonstrated strong academic work in the classroom, went to Eastern Wayne graduate Joey Moye.

The Jerry Narron Award, presented to a local player who has had a tremendous influence on the baseball scene, went to North Lenoir standout pitcher and East Carolina University signee Sthil Sowers.

The Doyle Whitfield Award, given to the area's top head coach from either Wayne County or surrounding counties, was presented to North Lenoir coach Jim Montague.

And the John Thomas Award, presented to a volunteer coach who goes above and beyond to spend time with the Babe Ruth organization, went to Ed Spence.

Presenters of the awards were area baseball icons George Whitfield, Rooster Narron, Charles Davis and May. The master of ceremonies was Hardy Sullivan.

The North Lenoir baseball team, which won back-to-back state titles in 2005-06, was also honored, as were the Wayne County Angels, a 12-and-under team that advanced to the semifinals of the 2006 American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational last summer in Cooperstown, N.Y.