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Pictures of the Past

This photo of Northwest Front Street in Walnut Ridge is believed to have been taken about 1921. The building on the corner burned earlier this year, as did the building located adjacent to it on West Walnut Street, which housed the Lawrence County Public Housing Agency. The agency recently reopened at its new location at 118 East Main Street, formerly Snapp Motor Company and Cavenaugh Dodge’s sales office. (Pictures of the Past is a cooperative effort of The Times Dispatch and the Lawrence County Historical Society. Readers are encouraged to submit historic photos.)


10 Years Ago

Firefighters from Hoxie, Walnut Ridge, Black Rock, Portia and Sedgwick battled several blazes at Anderson’s Auto Salvage after a grass fire spread to vehicles and other debris. There was no structural damage and the fire was contained to a small area of the salvage yard.

The Walnut Ridge Bobcats and Hoxie Mustangs both lost first-round games in the state football playoffs. Parkers Chapel defeated Walnut Ridge 27-6, while Hoxie fell to Fountain Lake, 44-6.

Archie Williams celebrated his 90th birthday at the Walnut Ridge Senior Center. Williams moved to the Walnut Ridge area from North Little Rock in 1949 and opened The Prescription House. He served as a pharmacist in the area until the late 1960s.

Entergy employees Kevin Rogers and Bobby Segraves rescued a cat that was trapped on an electric pole behind Floyd’s Body Shop in Walnut Ridge.

20 Years Ago

Micheal Kearby and Jon House, biologists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, met with local officials Monday at Hoxie City Hall to discuss solutions to the blackbird roosting problem in Walnut Ridge and Hoxie. Kearby said the birds are a major problem for the Delta region in particular, with as many as 50 million blackbirds roosting in the state each year. House said, “It’s a health problem for the Delta. Half the people in Arkansas could test positive for histoplasmosis, a disease affecting the lungs and eyes that comes from spores that grow in the birds’ droppings.

Two Hoxie High School Mustang football players have been named All-Conference for the 2AAA Conference this year, and five others received honorable mention. All-Conference players are Justin Ezell and Cy Phillips. Both also earned honorable mention for All-State honors. Honorable mention for All-Conference was awarded to Steve Pinkston, Chris Johnson, Jon Kopp, Jeff Ball and Robert Riedel.

Lindsey Bullard, Randi LeBlanc, Susan Penn and Brandi Wade of the Hoxie Senior High Student Council recently traveled to Charleston, S.C., to represent Hoxie High School as delegates to the Southern Conference of Student Councils. Advisors Shelia Bullard and Brenda Wade accompanied them.

At the recent Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) District Three election meeting, Jonathan Wichman of the Walnut Ridge High School FCCLA chapter was elected district president for 2000-2001.

The following FCCLA members from River Valley School attended the National Cluster Meeting with sponsor Raelyne Massey and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Walters Nov. 9-12 in Kansas City, Mo.: Dustin Gilbert, Ginnie Voyles, Cha Thomas, Tisann Crouch, Maegan Barber, Brenn Dickison, Alicia Halfacre, Holly Mize, Brittany Wright, Nikki Doyle, Reva Mitchell, Amber Thomas and April Durham.

30 Years Ago

Members of the Black Rock homecoming court include: Rhonda Clayton, 11th grade maid; Donna Smith, homecoming queen; Kelly Richey, 12th grade maid; Christine Booth, seventh grade maid; Dawn Vance, 10th grade maid; Emily Gill, ninth grade maid; and Sara Clark, eighth grade maid.

Bobcats Chad Brewer and Billy Baker and Mustangs Allen Hodge and Teddy Dodd have been selected to the All-Conference football team.

40 Years Ago

Relton F. Green, aged 53, of Walnut Ridge, died Sunday morning in Lawrence Memorial Hospital following a heart attack. Mr. Green was a vice president of Citizens National Bank and was manager of the Citizens Branch Bank in Hoxie.

Loren Rogers, 16, of Walnut Ridge, Rt. 1, was the first deer hunter to report his kill this week. Hunting near Ravenden, Rogers shot the eight-point 150-pound buck with a .20 gauge shotgun. It was his first deer.

50 Years Ago

Bobby Watson, head coach and director of athletics at Hoxie High School, was the recipient of an award given by the Arkansas High School Coaches Association for 20 years of faithful and dedicated service as a high school Coach.

Gail Tillman, Route 2, Walnut Ridge, has written a poem that appears in the October issue of Highlights for Children, a popular monthly children’s magazine with over a million readers. Gail is a seventh-grade pupil at Walnut Ridge Junior High School. Her poem, “A Basket of Apples,” was written when Gail was a fifth-grade pupil of Cynthia (Mrs. Harold) Callahan.

Cadet Robert Warden of Hoxie has been promoted to the rank of corporal at Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tenn.

60 Years Ago

An “extra” payment of $12,000 has been made this month on the bonds owed by Lawrence County on Lawrence Memorial Hospital. County Judge Brooks Penn announced yesterday that the County had retired “in advance” some bonds which would have been payable in 15 to 18 years.

Mrs. Jeff Davis has been elected Worthy Matron of Charles Chapter No. 410, Order of the Eastern Star. Her husband, Jeff Davis, has been elected Worthy Patron.

Catherine Moore, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Truman Moore of Walnut Ridge, has been selected as one of the new members of The Arkettes, a choral group at Arkansas State College in Jonesboro.

70 Years Ago

Surilda Doyle is teaching in the school at Sheridan. She taught school in Walnut Ridge for about 25 years.

Phillip Meadows, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Meadows, is now stationed at Yokosuka, Japan, with a Naval medical evacuation unit. Phillip writes his parents that his unit is working night and day dispatching wounded men to hospitals.

75 Years Ago

Charles Snapp, W.A. Dowell Jr., and H.A. McCollum were among the local sportsmen who went to Stuttgart this week to enjoy a duck hunt in the famous reservoirs at that place.

Capt. Melvin A. Manning has sailed from Okinawa for the states and expects to reach home about Dec. l. Mrs. Manning and their children are living in Walnut Ridge.

80 Years Ago

Max Sallings, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, has been promoted to sergeant in headquarters company of the ROTC at the University. Sallings is a graduate of the Walnut Ridge High School and a member of the varsity football squad.

Harold Callahan of Portia and Bill Jessen of Imboden were awarded football letters at Arkansas State College during the past week. Both boys were members of the varsity team.

Can Dizzy make the cut?

Dizzy Dean is among the candidates for the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The winner will be announced on Dec. 9 and will be honored next July. Other finalists for the award are Don Drysdale, Joe Buck, Dan Shulman, Al Michaels, Dave Campbell, Ernesto Jerez, and Buddy Blattner.

Born in Lucas, Arkansas in 1910, Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean made his professional debut in 1930 with the St. Louis Cardinals. According to the Hall of Fame, he became a regular starter in 1932, leading the league in shutouts and innings pitched. It was also the first of four straight seasons he led the league in strikeouts.

In 1934, Dean led the league in wins and won the National League MVP Award. His brother Paul (known as Daffy Dean) was also a pitcher on the team.

In 1937 Dean suffered an injury to his arm and largely lost his pitching effectiveness. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1938 and spent four seasons there. Dean was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953.

After his retirement from the game, Dean turned to broadcasting starting in 1941 announcing both St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns games on the radio. His broadcast career lasted 24 years, including announcing games for The New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. He joined CBS television and became the star of their Game of the Week telecast starting in the 1950s through 1965.

Dizzy passed away in 1974 at age 64. He and his wife of 43 years, Patricia, lived in Bond, Mississippi, her hometown. He has not been forgotten down there. Congress designated the U.S. Post Office in Wiggins, Mississippi as the “Jay Hanna ‘Dizzy’ Dean Post Office” in 2000, and in 2007, a rest area in Wiggins, which is near Bond, was named the ”Dizzy Dean Rest Area.”

Paul died in 1981 at age 67 in Springdale, Arkansas where he lived.

A couple of things make Dizzy Dean’s nomination for this award especially neat.

Reason One: It is named for Ford C. Frick who was president of the National League from 1934-1951, and was commissioner of baseball from 1951-1965.

Frick and Dean had a pretty famous feud back in 1937. It all started when Dean was called for a balk in a game against the New York Giants. A 2012 article from Scott Wuerz, published in the Belleville (Illinois) News Democrat, recounts that the Cardinals lost their 1-0 lead in the sixth inning as practically all of Dizzy’s pitches after the call came in “high and tight” for the last three innings of the game. And a brawl broke out when he finally hit a Giants batter in the ninth.

The Cards lost 4-1, and according to Wuerz, Dean threw a fit in front of the Sportsmans Park crowd, “causing a riot before storming off the field and later giving reporters an earful about how little he thought about the National League, it’s umpires and league president Ford Frick.”

Over the next two weeks Dean apparently bad-mouthed Frick and the league every chance he got, and at a youth sports dinner in Belleville a few days after the Giants game, Wuerz writes that Dean called Frick and George Barr, the umpire that called the balk, “the two greatest crooks in baseball” in front of a shocked audience.

Frick insisted Dean apologize in writing or else he would be suspended. Dean called a press conference (of sorts) in a room on the 20th floor of a hotel and told reporters he would rather jump out the window than apologize. Somehow Cardinals management smoothed things over with Frick. Dean made no more remarks publicly, and was allowed to play.

Reason Two: The award is for excellence in baseball broadcasting, something for which Dean was highly criticized.

In 1946 a group of Missouri teachers complained to the Federal Communications Commission that Dean’s broadcasts had a negative affect on America’s youth.

They wrote that his broadcasts were “replete with errors in grammar and syntax.” He was defended by the Saturday Review of Literature and other publications and groups, but he couldn’t resist responding to one teacher on the air who had written to him and complained about his saying “ain’t” during his broadcasts.

“A lot of folks who ain’t sayin’ ‘ain’t,’ ain’t eatin,’” Dean said. “So, Teach, you learn ’em English, and I’ll learn ’em baseball.”

He invented the word slud, as in ‘Rizzuto slud into second.’ After getting complaints about it, Dean explained that slud is something more than slid. “It means sliding with great effort,” he said, according to Baseball Almanac.

Dean only had a second grade education. He stopped going to school after his mother died when he was just 8 years old. He liked to say he didn’t do so well in first grade, either.

The Hall of Fame states that Dizzy Dean became a national sensation in broadcasting for his combination of lively descriptions, candid opinions and at times, incorrect English and trouble with names. “His pairing with Pee Wee Reese in the early 1960s is credited with bringing many new fans to baseball.”

And who else, besides Dizzy Dean, could get away with saying this on the air while working for CBS: “I don’t know why they’re calling this the Game of the Week. There’s a much better game, Dodgers and Giants, over on NBC.”

That sounds like a Ford C. Frick Award winning broadcaster to me.