Spartanburg County Council, City of Inman, Inman Mills/Inman, and sports fans of the Inman Community salute Post 45, American Legion and the American Legion Baseball Program, current and past players and coaches.
Current Coach Steve Skinner was honored by Spartanburg County Council with a resolution and plaque at its regularly scheduled meeting on August 18, 2014. This plaque stated: A resolution congratulating and recognizing Steve Skinner for 35 years of dedicated service coaching the Inman Post 45 American Legion Baseball Team. Whereas, pride and honor have been bestowed upon Spartanburg County by the dedicated service and achievements of Steve Skinner as coach of Inman Post 45 American Legion Baseball Team and as the longest serving, active head coach in American Legion baseball in South Carolina. Coach Skinner’s team most recently won the league championship in 2013 and 2014, and both years advanced to the state playoffs. In 2014, the team finished third in the state, which was the first time the team had made it to the state playoffs since 1971 when Steve Skinner was a first baseman and pitcher for the team; and whereas, Steve Skinner along with numerous volunteers have maintained the field, painted bleachers and dugouts and performed any other necessary maintenance at the Jim Everhart Field which serves as the Inman Post 45 home baseball field. Under Steve’s direction, a new scoreboard was designed and erected at the field which preserves the field’s iconic status as one of the oldest baseball fields still in use in the state. Also under Steve Skinner’s direction, scholarships and fundraising, including an annual golf tournament, have been established which provides necessary funds to finance the Inman Post 45 baseball team. As a result of these efforts, each member of the Inman Post 45 team plays free of charge; and Whereas, during his thirty-five years serving as coach of the Inman Post 45 baseball team, Steve Skinner has instilled in countless young men integrity, work ethic, leadership and the importance of teamwork. The young men who play American Legion baseball are taught that they are playing for something bigger than the game; they are playing for all the men and women who have served our great country in uniform and they are playing for their community. For thirty-five years Steve Skinner has not only taught these young men those values, he has illustrated them in his life and service. Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Spartanburg County Council does hereby recognize Steve Skinner for his accomplishments and thirty-five years of dedicated service coaching the Inman Post 45 American Legion Baseball Team. Be it further resolved that this Resolution be presented to Steve Skinner, in recognition thereof, and be made a part of the permanent minutes of the Spartanburg County Council. Adopted this 18th day of August, 2014. Spartanburg County Council, by: Jeffrey A. Horton, Chairman. (photo)
Coach Skinner was selected and elected Honorary Member of Post 45 in appreciation for his years of outstanding service as baseball coach for the Inman American Legion Baseball Team on September 11, 2011. By: Frank C. Allen, Commander, American Legion Post 45.
Coach Skinner, a native of Inman, is son of the late “Bud” and Jeri Waldrop Skinner of Inman. He is married to the former Karen Johnson of Campobello. They have one son, Steve Jr.(wife former Kellie Pearson of Spatanburg), one granddaughter Karlie, age 11, and grandson Karter, , age 4, all of Inman. Steve played baseball (two varsity letters) and football (one varsity letter) at Chapman High School before graduation. Steve honed considerable baseball skills under venerable Legion Coach Jim Everhart, former Inman High, Spartanburg American Legion team, and the outstanding Inman Mills Textile Baseball Team, which won the pennant and playoff in the “fast” Eastern Carolina Baseball League in the late forties. It’s noted Steve was the grandson of Jennings Waldrop, charter American Legion member and textile baseball player of the twenties, and nephew of the late Perrin “Pern” Waldrop, star of Inman textile baseball teams of the forties and early fifties. “Pern” was selected member of several “all-time” textile teams, and was offered a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals. Incidentally, the Inman Mills teams of the 40’s and 50’s had identical home (white) and visitor (gray) uniforms of the Cardinals, except for lettering on the chest and baseball caps. Steve played Legion Baseball for Post #45 for 3 years, and was a member of the 1971 team which advanced to the State Championship playoff, finishing second under Coach Haskell Penland.
Steve’s 2014 Legion Team advanced to the state championship playoff in Sumter for the second time in two years. (photo). Past #45 won the Region VI championship with a 16-5 won-lost record. In playoff action, they defeated West Columbia 3-0, and Fort Mill 3-1; in state championship play they defeated Hartsville 3-2, Camden 10-9, lost to Florence 13-1 (eventual champion) and Sumter, 4-3, in 15 innings. Player pool for Post #45 consists of Chapman, Byrnes, Landrum, Greer, Union, and Travelers Rest.
Steve and deceased Coach Haskell Penland established the Paul High (Inman’s Mr. Legion, now deceased) scholarship fund which provides two college scholarships annually, or as warranted, to Legion Baseball players. A committee was selected to assist in choosing most deserving candidates. Criteria for this scholarship includes: 1. must play more than one year of Senior Legion baseball; 2. must have a good all-round attitude; and 3. must show respect to others, be a good team player and representative of Paul High’s character.
John Wilkins, WW II Navy veteran, and code-giver for the pre-game Ceremony involving both home and away teams and coaches since 1953, reported that, in addition to himself, there were four other Legionnaires initially responsible for formation of the Legion team. 1. An unnamed individual who transferred from another post to Inman for a short while, but was well-versed in fledgling American Legion baseball. 2. Charles Foxx. 3. Jim Everhart, who served as Athletic Officer for many years, and 4. Paul High. He reported that, since the American Legion was not always affluent, some team uniforms consisted of a white T-shirt, and shorts or dungarees. John also reported that he initially counted the ball-players on hand for away games, and, upon reporting to Coach Everhart a number of nine or above, was instructed to “Load ‘em up” in individuals’ cars, in the absence of a team bus.
Inman American Legion, Post #45, Inman, SC – Charter Members- Organized, Summer, 1921. Chartered – 28 April 1922. Open to all members of the US Military Service during wartime, WW II. Inman area:
Jess Bird, Postmaster; J. P. Parker, Banker; C. W. Golightly, Mail Route; C. J. Miller, Doctor; T. F. Bird, Mail Route; H. A. Davis, Not Specified; C. W. Wilson, City Mail; W. F. McMillin, Not Specified; James W. Wolfe, Bookkeeper; Theodore Powell, Furniture; Jesse Williams, Real Estate; John P. Waters, Teacher; W. B. Metcalf, Insurance; Otto Marlow; Laundry; J. Y. Greenway, Farmer; V. F. Hardin, Filling Station; Hugh Hammette, Ser. Sta. Owner, Jim Lynch, Carpenter; Arch Lynch, Carpenter; Ed Culp, Retired – Former Mayor, John McClain, Not Specified; Dave Knox, Disabled Veteran; Inman Mills: Theron E. Stone, John C. Bell, N.J.A. McGinnis, Jonas Boyter, Joe L. Everhart, S. B. Smith, J. C. “Chalk” Calvert, J. R. “Brown” Calvert, Munroe Teague, Joe Messer, and Jennings Waldrop. Do you recognize the names of these heroes, now all deceased? Joe Messer (father of the writer played Textile Baseball for Inman Mills in the twenties, retiring in 1932.
Previous Legion Coaches: (Not in chronological order). Haskell Penland (dec.); Jim Everhart (dec.); Julian Greene (dec.); Bob Foster (dec.)
Tom Pack, and Eddie Price. There was no team in 1967.
Current Coaches: Steve Skinner, Mikey Hall – Also Post #45 Athletic Officer , David Gentry (former player), David Fowler (former player), and Jamie Spears.
A humorous story regarding area baseball. Current coach Skinner was playing for Inman Pony League Coach Everhart. They had a disagreement and Steve left the team. Jim then called Haskell Penland, who was coaching the Campobello team, and informed him of Steve’s leaving. Haskell then recruited Steve for his Campobello team, which defeated Inman in championship play. Jim and Steve later became best friends and laughed at the incident.
Coach Skinner cited among former players three who were very good baseball players exemplifying the best qualities of Legion baseball, pursuing a baseball career and thus realizing their ambition. Fielding “Field” Culbreth was a three sport athlete at Chapman, Post #45 Legion, Spartanburg Methodist College and University of North Carolina/Charlotte scholarship baseball player. At UNCC, he sustained a baseball ending injury (torn rotator cuff), but informed Inman Mills Athletic Director Jim Everhart that he was pursuing a Major League Career by becoming an umpire. Umpiring is a much more difficult route to the Major Leagues, since there are only 68 ML umpires, with 30 teams carrying 25 man rosters for a total of 750 players. Field succeeded through umpiring school, has been an umpire for 27 years, and has completed the “hat trick” of umpiring in: each league championship series, the all star game, and the world series.
Steve Fusaro also played football at CHS, and played baseball at CHS, Post #45, and Wofford College. He currently is head baseball coach at Chapman High School.
Mike Maus also starred in baseball at CHS, Post #45 Legion ball, and Erskine College. He, and his Dad served Post #45 as assistant coaches, and Mike is now head baseball coach at Byrnes High School.
Coach Skinner reported: Legion baseball is a good opportunity for good athletes to participate in a community activity at no cost to their parents. It’s a plus for the opportunity to team up with former foes from rival high schools and learn the teamwork necessary for a good team. It provides opportunities for participants to develop life skills enabling them to be a contributing member of society. A good philosophy promoted by AD/Coach Everhart was: “Leave it better than you found it!” This trait was practiced by Post #45 team in the recent state tournament, where the Sumter volunteers noted and commented on Post #45 cleaning up the dugout after their ballgame.
Lastly, he thanks all the volunteers who worked the gates, manned the scoreboard (visible in the team photo), served as scorekeepers and public announcers, helped prepare the field for play, manned the first-rate concession stand, and everyone who supported the team through the annual golf tourney, the primary fund raiser.
The community thanks Coach Skinner and the players for providing good, clean entertainment in one of the oldest and best ball parks in the upstate, with reasonable ticket and concession prices, especially those fans who sit in the “GG”- green grass sections of the hillcrest banks, the most active and vociferous of the fans appreciating the show that is American Legion Post#45 baseball.
Coach Skinner announced that Inman Mills Ball Park, Jim Everhart Field, will host the American Legion Junior State Tournament next year (2015).
Contributed by John Messer