Seagraves retires after 35 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 23, 2008

SOUTH POINT — For the past 35 years, Glen Seagraves has had the best babysitting job in the world.

In the spring of 1973, Seagraves pulled up in the South Point Little League park and let his son out of the car for practice. Before he could drive away, another man was rapping on his window.

“Hey, we need your help. We don’t baby sit.”

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Seagraves got out of his car and began to help coach his son’s team and he kept coaching for seven years.

The coaching led to District 11 administrator for 24 years, state director for 17 more, and a three-year stint on the National Little League board of directors.

Now, 35 years later, Seagraves is retiring from his little league job as of October. He will oversee the state Little League tournament to be held at South Point in July.

Seagraves admits it’s been quite a run around the bases.

“I’m fortunate to do what I like to do. I retired from my job (Ironton fire department) because this one got to be so much work. But I love what I do,” said Seagraves.

As a director, Seagraves said he always tried to surround himself with good people

“You can’t do a good job without good people around you,” said Seagraves. “You put good people around you and then let them do their job.”

Although Seagraves traveled across the country including visits each year to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA., he did not go alone. His wife of more than 40 years, Gail, was at his side.

The two never miss any little league or high school games and even like to watch other teams such as Gail’s alma mater, Ironton.

“My wife likes doing it as much as I do. She gets her say in,” said Seagraves with a smile. “The only reason I could do this is because she liked baseball.”

During his career Seagraves was able to meet and befriend Carl Stotz, the founder of little league baseball. Seagraves stayed at Stotz’ home for nine years during the Little League World Series before Stotz died in 1992.

Seagraves asked Stotz to visit and be his guest at a state tournament held in Ironton and the little league founder accepted, something that caught Seagraves by surprise since it was only the second time he went to a tournament other than the world series.

“I asked Carl if he would come and he said ‘yes’ which is unusual for him. But then I found out why. He wanted a favor from me. I went to stay with him and he asked me to film the little league history. I told Carl I really didn’t know that much about filming a documentary,” said Seagraves.

“But he didn’t care. He said, ‘I can tell you what to do. All the other people want to put their two cents in.”

As district director, Seagraves is in charge of 18 leagues, helps with the interleague play, and organizes the district all-star tournament.

“I’m the go-between for 18 leagues. I’m the peacemaker,” said Seagraves.

As a member of the national board, Seagraves was on the finance committee that was responsible for getting new lights at the Williamsport field and the $600,000 scoreboard.

“There is so much excitement at the Little League World Series,” said Seagraves. “I went to a place where there were 40 to 50 thousand people watching these little league kids and all the major league players who were there watching,” said Seagraves.

Speaking of major league players, Seagraves has struck up friendships with players like Tommy John and his wife, Sally, who is a board member, and Mike Mussina.

One honor bestowed upon Seagraves that didn’t get much fanfare came in 1996 when he was named the Volunteer of the Year. The award is given to only one recipient in the 13-state region.

He has also received the Ernie Pohlman Award, named for the man who built the South Point Little League program. He also was the first winner of the Meritorious Award given by the National Little League.

But Seagraves is putting the work and the awards behind him. His grandson, Jacob

Seagraves, will be a senior next season at South Point and he has other grandchildren making their way through the various programs.

“We plan to watch our grandson play college ball and watch our other grandchildren during the summer. We’ll still be going to games,” said Seagraves.

And maybe doing a little babysitting on the side.