By Brian Hoffman
Former major leaguer George Canale will be the speaker for the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame banquet on July 31st. At that time five area baseball players and contributors will be inducted into the S-R Hall at the 30th induction ceremony at the Salem Civic Center.
The Class of ’22 includes Eric Altizer, Ryan Gilleland, Tyler Lumsden, Keith Mayhew and Doug Pence. “Butch” Craft has been selected to receive the Wayne LaPierre, Sr. award for community service and contributions to the game.
Canale played his high school ball at Cave Spring High then played for Virginia Tech, where he hit 76 collegiate home runs. That’s first all-time at Tech and seventh all-time in Division I. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth round of the 1986 Amateur Draft and played parts of three seasons with the big league “Brew Crew.” In all he played 12 years of professional baseball with six organizations as well as teams in Italy, Taiwan and Korea. He was inducted into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Altizer is a former player and current coach at Auburn High School. The Eagles have won three state championships under Altizer, including the 2021 state championship. Eric has won many honors during his days as the Auburn coach.
Gilleland, a 1995 graduate of Jefferson Forest High School, played four years as a second baseman at the University of Virginia, batting .337 in 1997. He’s the present coach at Jefferson Forest High and has also been a coach with the West team in the Commonwealth Games.
Lumsden is a 2000 graduate of Cave Spring High School who went on to pitch at Clemson University for three years. He was a first round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2004 and pitched seven seasons in professional baseball, including three years at the AAA level.
Mayhew is one of just five Ferrum College players to have his jersey retired. He was a three-time All-American pitcher, including a first team selection in 1995. When he graduated he held the NCAA Division III record with 350 career strikeouts and 149 in a season. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1995. Mayhew died in 2015.
Pence is a long time coach and volunteer with the William Byrd High School program who also coached American Legion baseball. He was a tireless worker, maintaining Byrd’s Terrier Field and was a key person in getting the fieldhouse built on the grounds.
Craft, the long-time owner of The Roanoker Restaurant in Roanoke, has been a big supporter of the game, sponsoring youth teams for many years. She has been a sponsor for the Hall of Fame since the early 1990s.
The Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 and honors players and contributors from the counties of Alleghany, Roanoke, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin and Montgomery and the independent cities located within the boundaries of those counties. The Hall of Fame building is located on the grounds of the James E. Taliaferro Complex, next to the Salem Red Sox administrative office behind the third base seating area of Salem Memorial Ballpark. It is open to the public on selected Friday and Saturday nights during the 2022 season and upon request.
For information on tickets contact Gary Walthall at 540-427-1977.