Four area baseball players and contributors have been selected for induction into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame at the 23rd annual banquet, scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 2014, at the Salem Civic Center. This year’s inductees are Scott Atkins, Ray Ryan, Jim Thacker, and Sid Witt, Jr. The induction banquet will be held in conjunction with the Salem Red Sox annual “Hot Stove” event.
Atkins was a standout baseball player for Glenvar High School and Virginia Tech in the early 70s. He also served as baseball coach at Salem High School and remains active in baseball and softball in the area.
In a baseball career spanning nearly 60 years (1901–‐1956), Raymond Joseph “Ray” Ryan Sr. (1883–‐1958) was “one of the greatest pioneers of professional baseball,”according to his obituary at the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a player who once had a hit off Lefty Grove, an owner of several teams, and in 1939 he re–‐established the Virginia League, returning baseball to the Roanoke Valley and bringing a team to Salem VA. Thacker coached baseball for 28 years at Jefferson Forest High School, winning 12 Seminole District titles, three regional championships and a state champion in 1988. He retired after the 2013 season with a record of 424‐205.
Witt, a Salem resident, has been a long time volunteer with the Challenger Little League Baseball program for handicapped children. Sid has devoted countless hours to these children and has been an organizer, fund–‐raiser and coach for the program. The Hall of Fame has also announced that long time area baseball enthusiast Bill Petty will receive the Wayne LaPierre Community Service Award at the January banquet.
Submitted by Mike Stevens, City of Salem