His coaching record alone would have elevated Mike Sheets to inclusion in the two-year-old Greater Dayton Baseball Hall of Fame, but when he lost a toe on his left foot helping to build dugouts for his beloved Carroll High School, well, the induction should have been by acclimation.
“We were building the dugouts and I wasn’t paying attention,” Sheets said. “I’ve got diabetes and the toe got infected. It had to come off. Later, I stepped on a nail at the site, and it got infected again and I had to have more surgery.”
Except for having to wear a spacer and special orthopedics, it hardly affects Sheets.
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You don’t have to be world class to be in a Hall of Fame, but you do have to be a little more than ordinary.
Sheets, who also played a year of football at UD, graduated from Carroll in 1985, became an assistant coach in 1992 and has been head coach since 1996, piling up more than 360 victories, the Carroll record.
In his spare time, he is a lawyer.
“This (Hall) is a wonderful thing,” Sheets said. “I didn’t think I’d be coaching this long. I remember Jim Hemmert coaching for 27 years and I thought no one would coach longer than that, but in a few years, I’ll reach that number.”
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Others inducted into the Hall are former umpires Bill Duckro (who umpired 44 years starting at age 14 and worked games involving Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt and Steve Yeager, when they were in high school or before), and Bob Juliano (who has even worked games involving the pro Dayton Dragons); coach and scout Jerry Salyers and players Rob Corrado (Oakwood High School, Kentucky, five years of pro ball as a pitcher), Rich Jablonski (Patterson Co-Op, Sinclair, Florida Southern as a middle infielder and pitcher) and pitcher Scott Litmer (Belmont and UD).
They join the first class, which included players Tony Caruso (UD and Dayton AA League), Scott Davis (Stebbins, Sinclair, Ohio State and Mount Vernon Nazarene), Jeff Klepacz (Wilbur Wright, Sinclair and UD middle infielder), Don Miller (a catcher at Wilbur Wright and UD) and Jim Nevius (.400-hitter for Chaminade Julienne); administrator Jimmy Chandler (who handled schedules, most notably at Patterson Park); manager and coach Mike Roberts (Meadowdale, Fairview and Northmont); coach Richard Skeel (four championships in five years at Sinclair) and umpires Mike Illinik (50 years in umpiring, including some Dragons games), Rick Roberts (42 years of service) and Jeff Wiedeman (only 17 when he started umpiring).
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The Hall grew out of the concern of Dayton Amateur Baseball commission (DABC) Hall of Famer Klepacz and buddies who noted sadly the old DABC stopped inducting people into its Hall in 2016, and catered mainly to Class AA baseball anyway.
The GDBHF tries to feature former high school and college stars, as well as those who continued to play in the Dayton summer amateur leagues. In addition, coaches, scouts, umpires and administrators are included.
For the past two years, a banquet has been held in honor of the inductees, and a Facebook page has been built to visit their accomplishments.
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“I just did the best I could,” said Duckro, now 82 and retired. “My brother was coaching and he said they needed someone to umpire.”
That was a long time and many games ago.
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