On the Mark

Mark Martin
Sportswriter
Jackson Newspapers

BASEBALL’S BACK: Later this month, Major League Baseball is set to finally get going.

We will all be excited to see it happen.

And from a Jackson County standpoint, no one is amped up and ready to see action on the diamond any more than former Ravenswood standout Larry Carter.

The one-time Red Devil pitching great, who was a Class AAA First Team All-Stater for Doug Parrish’s program, will be in his first season as the bullpen coach for the Kansas City Royals.

Carter, who pitched at the MLB level while with the Giants, is now getting his first chance to coach on the game’s biggest stage.

He’s enjoyed outstanding success for many years in the minor leagues with the Royals organization.

Carter will be on the staff of manager Mike Matheny.

The one-time Cardinal catching great and later manager has ties to the area.

His parents were graduates of Point Pleasant High School in Mason County.

All the best to one of Ravenswood’s finest…Larry Carter.

BICKEL’S BASEBALL DAYS: Earlier this week I travelled to Princeton to cover an event featuring good friend Jim Holland.

The Dunbar native was being inducted into the Appalachian League (rookie ball) Hall of Fame.

Holland served for 24 years as the general manager for the baseball franchise in Mercer County, first as a Cincinnati Reds affiliate and later with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Holland graduated from Dunbar HIgh in 1976. He was close to the late Jody Jividen, also a Dunbar grad and later an outstanding sportswriter for the Charleston Dailey Mail. Jividen’s brother-in-law is Ripley native Bryce Casto.

After graduating from the University of Charleston in 1980, Holland entered the corporate world. But ultimately, he had an urge to get into the baseball business.

He called himself “a hanger-on” with the Appalachian League's Huntington Cubs.

Holland gave credit to his success for the man who granted him a chance – the late Bud Bickel.

If the name Bud Bickel sounds familiar, it should. He was once the head coach of Ripley High football and basketball.

LET’S GO RACING: I-77 Speedway in Fairplain will have racing action on the Fourth of July.

The gates at the historic local track will open at 3 p.m.

The racing is set to get going at 7 p.m.

There will be fireworks as well.

General admission is $15 with children 12 and under admitted free. Pit admission is $30 with children five and under admitted free.

Sounds like a great night.

SALTUE TO GRADUATES: It’s been a tough few months for all of us.

But our hearts certainly go out to the high school seniors locally, across the state and beyond.

We are certainly proud of Ravenswood and Ripley’s Class of 2020. These young men and women handled the situation with a lot of class.

They finally got to enjoy a real graduation last week.

Hats off to the Jackson County Board of Education for making it happen.

It’s a time in their lives they’ll never forget.

Many blessings on their journeys forward in life.

4TH OF JULY: Speaking of blessings. We live in a great county and tomorrow it will be time to celebrate the red, white and blue once again.

Growing up in Ripley, the 4th of July was always special.

While it will be a different type of 4th this year, here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful day.