Rebel Park to be new home for Valley Baseball League Hall of Fame

Bruce Alger

NEW MARKET – The Valley Baseball League inducted its first Hall of Fame class this past year and now the Hall of Fame has a home – New Market’s Rebel Park.

VBL President and Commissioner Don Lemish announced Wednesday at a New Market Rotary Club meeting at The Shenvalee Resort that there will be a three-dimensional board at Rebel Park that will honor all of the Hall of Fame inductees.

Lemish said that since he became commissioner he wanted to start a Hall of Fame, and that was finally started this past year. But then he realized they needed a place to honor all of the inductees.

“We started taking about we have to have a place to create a permanent recognition, and I thought of a couple different things. And it came to me that the ideal place would be Rebel Park in New Market,” Lemish said. “It’s centrally located right off of the interstate. It’s the epitome of valley – Valley Baseball League – that’s where it needs to be.”

He took the idea to New Market Rebels President and General Manager Bruce Alger, who said he loved the idea.

Don Lemish

Lemish said the board will have a glass door so that things can be put in it, and they will put a laminated certificate with each inductee’s name along with a photo of each inductee on the board.

After looking around, Alger said they decided to put the board adjacent to the web deck attached to the press box on the hill. He said they will do some landscaping and decorate it with shrubbery. Alger said it will be easy for everyone to see and will be facing the field.

Alger said he’s excited about having the board at Rebel Park.

“First off I have to say I was shocked that Rebel Park was chosen for such a monument of the Valley Baseball League,” Alger said. “At the same time very proud that we would be even considered for that. We’ve been a charter member since 1947. I think we do a good job in representing the Valley Baseball League and in some cases have been the model for other teams to follow as they come into the league. So with our past history, with the direction the Valley Baseball League is going in, we’re very honored and proud to host this monument at Rebel Park.”

Alger said he’s already talked with New Market Town Manager Mike Ritchie and Assistant Mayor John Blosser, and they are both 100 percent behind the project.

Lemish said he thinks the board will cost $10,000, and said he is trying to raise the money to cover the costs of the board.

“We need money,” Lemish said. “We cannot fund the Hall of Fame out of the money that we get annually to run the league because all of that money does just that – it runs the league.”

Lemish and Alger said that they are hoping that businesses and individuals will help donate money and time to help with the project, including the other teams in the VBL.

Alger said there’s no timetable for when it will be completed, but they would love to have it done before the start of the 2017 season.

Last year nine were inducted into the Hall of Fame and were honored at the VBL All-Star game, and Lemish said that will continue each year. Alger said that they will probably finalize the next year’s Hall of Fame class in May.

The board is expected to be 10 feet high and 16 feet wide. Alger said that Woodstock River Bandits President and General Manager Porky Bowman helped come up with the design for it.

Alger said the board will be a nice draw for the park as fans can come and look at it during Rebel games.

“Being the smallest community in the Valley Baseball League, anything we can do to attract people to Rebel Park is certainly a benefit for us,” Alger said. “But we’re looking past the benefit for us – the benefits for the Valley Baseball League itself. To honor these people that will be joining – they will always be there – makes it pretty special.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com