MOULTRIE -- Furman Bisher, Paul Hemphill and wooden bats will take center stage for this weekend's Georgia-Florida-Alabama Minor League Baseball Reunion.
Bisher, the longtime sports writer and editor for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, will be in town to take part in activities associated with the reunion, which will be held Friday and Saturday.
Hemphill, the author of 15 books, including three of which have baseball as their central theme, will be the speaker at Saturday's 7 p.m. banquet at the Embers Restaurant.
And when reunion coordinator Clint Chafin decided to hold a home runs derby, he knew he needed wood bats for the former players to use.
Moultrie's Ed Creech, the director of scouting for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was able to provide those for the reunion.
Chafin, in conjunction with the Museum of Colquitt County History, started the reunions in 2001. The event grew out of Chafin's effort to find a photograph of his father, Bobbie Chafin, who played for the Griffin Tigers of the Georgia-Alabama League in 1949, is his baseball uniform.
The event has continued to grow.
The first two years it was held, the reunion was open primarily to those who played minor league baseball in Georgia.
In 2003, the decision was made to merge the Georgia reunion with one held previously to honor players from the Alabama State and Alabama-Florida Leagues.
Chafin said 30 former players have already registered for this year's event.
"But if everybody comes who say they're coming, we'll have about 60," Chafin said.
Seven Colquitt County residents are former minor league players, including Floyd Moser, Milton Wrenn, Jack Daughtry, Hank Spain, Bob Hegwood, Mark Chafin and Tommy Proctor.
Spain will not be able to attend this year's reunion, Chafin said.
Charlie Guenst, who played for Hazlehurst, will travel the greatest distance to attend, coming in from Quakertown, Pa.
Reunion events will get under way at 8 a.m. Friday with a round of golf at Sunset Country Club.
At 4:30 p.m., the former players will visit Ike Aultman Field for a home run derby. A dinner at the Pond House is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, those attending the reunion will meet at noon for lunch at the Colquitt County Agricultral Building.
From 2-5 p.m., the public is invited to meet the players and view the displays and memorabilia at the Ag Building.
A banquet is schedued for 7-9 p.m. at The Embers Restaurant.
The banquet speaker will be Paul Hemphill, the Alabama-born columnist and author who is, himself, a former minor league player.
Hemphill, born in 1936 in Birmingham and a graduate of Auburn, played for the Class D Graceville Oilers of the Alabama-Florida League.
He has gone on to write three novels and nine works of non-fiction.
His novel "Long Gone," which takes place in the Class D Alabama-Florida League in the 1950s, was turned into an HBO movie in 1987.
He also has written "Wheels: A Season on NASCAR's Winston Cup Circuit."
His most recent work, "Lost in the Lights," is a collection of sportswriting.
Chafin said he e-mailed Bisher several months ago to tell him of the reunion and invite him to be the speaker.
Although Bisher declined to speak, he did agree to come to the reunion.
He is expected to attend Friday's home run derby.
"It's going to be nice to have him," Chafin said.
Also expected to attend are:
Mark Kiyak, an instructor at Valdosta State University, who is filming a documentary about minor league baseball.
Jill Rusinko, an assistant for special operations, Minor League Baseball.
Ken Rhyne, son of former Moultrie minor league baseball star Ken Rhyne.
The younger Rhyne is a professional musician and travels with the Ken Rhyne Band, which has a new album coming out next spring.
Taylor Phillips, who pitched for four major league teams, including the Milwaukee Braves in 1956 and 1957.
This Week's Circulars
MOULTRIE [mdash] Union Morris, 66, of Moultrie, died Friday, April 9, 2021 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
NORMAN PARK [mdash] Antonia Razo Gonzalez, 88, of Norman Park, died Saturday, April 10,2021 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
MOULTRIE [mdash] Barbara Lynn Kennedy, 54, of Moultrie, died Thursday, April 8, 2021 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
NORMAN PARK [mdash] Troy Tyler, 72, of Norman Park, passed away on Thursday, April 8, 2021 at his home. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
MOULTRIE [mdash] Candido Hernandez Gonsales, 60, of Moultrie, died Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
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