Honoring a baseball hero Columbia poised to unveil new monument to Sheckard
BY BILL CLARK, Correspondent,
Columbia's only major league baseball player, Jimmy Sheckard, will be honored at the unveiling of a monument dedicated to him at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Glatfelter Field.
The event is being sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the Glatfelter Field Foundation and the Columbia Boys' Athletic Association. The event will concur with the Susquehanna Valley chapter's annual awards and installation banquet at the Susquehanna Fire Company, 10th and Manor streets, immediately after the dedication ceremony.
The stone-and-bronze monument measures 3 feet by 5 feet. It features an image of Sheckard and lists his baseball accomplishments. The back of the monument lists the financial donors who made the project a reality.
The monument sits atop a small terrace overlooking baseball field No. 5 of the Glatfelter sports complex.
"The idea to erect a memorial started with a conversation with Jay Chryst, of the Jay Group, several months ago," said Jamie Hess, who, along with Bill Kloidt and other interested people, did the legwork to make the project happen.
"When Jay was a boy of about seven years, he met and had a brief relationship with Jimmy Sheckard, a story that he will tell at the memorial ceremony," Hess said.
"Jay mentioned a memorial plaque that resides at Musser Park in Lancaster and asked if there was any remembrance of the great ballplayer in Columbia, where Sheckard resided. Since there was none, Jay said he would like to see this done and would be willing to contribute to the project," Hess said.
"Upon checking with Mayor (Leo) Lutz, I was directed to Bill Kloidt, representing Glatfelter Field, and the game was afoot," Hess added. "There have been many contributions and volunteers to the cause, and we are now proud and excited to say that Jimmy Sheckard will be permanently memorialized via a stone-and-bronze monument facing the baseball field near the pavilion at Glatfelter Field."
The dedication program will include remarks by Mike Kuhn and Phil Glatfelter of the Glatfelter Field Foundation; Ray McCarty of the Columbia Boys' Athletic Association; Jay Lutz, grandson of Charles E. Herr, who was a boyhood friend of Sheckard's; Bob Herman of the Susquehanna Valley chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame; Chryst; and Gregg Dubbs, a local baseball historian.
Kloidt will serve as master of ceremonies. The unveiling of the monument will be led by Andy Ohrel with the assistance of Sheckard's family.
As Sheckard also was a barbershop-style singer, the Lazy Daze Barbershop Quartet will perform before, during and after the ceremony.
"Many of us played on these fields, or we played catch with our fathers and it was something that was passed on from generation to generation," Kloidt said of Columbia's baseball tradition. "It's hoping that this monument inspires fathers and grandfathers to play catch with their kids and grandkids and continues this great tradition and pastime well into the future."
At the banquet after the memorial dedication, the Jimmy Sheckard Meritorious Community Service Award will be presented to a local individual with all past award recipients being invited to the ceremony.
A baseball card depicting Sheckard's major league accomplishments will be given to everyone attending the dedication ceremony.