MOULTRIE -- Terry "Chick" Croft has a scrapbook that his mother started for him that charts his considerable achievements as a baseball and basketball player in rec leagues, at Moultrie High and at Norman College.
But Croft's prized possession is a Trenten Powell baseball card.
Powell plays for the Indians. Not the Cleveland Indians, but the team of same name in the Moultrie-Colquitt County Parks and Recreation Department's T-ball league.
Powell is Croft's grandson and the source of great pride as he begins learning to play baseball.
And if he comes up with some of the talent his grandfather displayed while playing for the Moultrie Packers, he, too, might make a name for himself.
There are many who count Croft among the best high school players ever produced in Colquitt County.
His 16-2 pitching record and .403 batting average while playing for Ace Little's Packers from 1966-1969 attest to his diamond skills.
But he was equally adept on the basketball court, where he averaged 16.7 points a game in his career and once scored 41 against Willingham High.
Those numbers were more than enough to earn Croft a place in the Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame's 2005 class.
Croft and 16 others will be inducted at the annual banquet to be held on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Colquitt County High cafeteria.
The 17 new members or their representatives also will be introduced at Mack Tharpe Stadium at Tom White Field before the Colquitt County High-Houston County football game the following night.
"This is quite an honor," said Croft. "There are a lot of others who deserve it who are not in yet."
Many in Colquitt County who have seen Croft at the Moultrie Post Office, where he has worked for 25 years, may not have been aware that during the four years he played for the Moultrie Packers, there may not have been a more accomplished athlete in the state.
Even as a freshman, he scored 125 points in 12 games on the basketball team and then went 6-0 on the mound and hit .333 that spring for Little, who went on the become a Hall of Famer himself.
But the seeds of the success he had at the high school and junior college level were sown on the recreation fields of the community he has lived in his entire life.
The youngest of three athletic Croft brothers, he had the advantage from learning from his older sibling.
Marvin Croft was a fine fielding first baseman who also could shoot well from the corner on the Packers basketball teams.
For two seasons, Chick was able to play with brother Jerry Croft, who also played first base and was a member of the Packers basketball team.
In fact, The Observer once ran a photograph of Chick, wearing jersey No. 22, and Jerry, in his familar No. 44, after the two had been named to the all-tournament team after an event in Albany.
Jerry Croft went on to become the head baseball coach at Colquitt County High, where he has won the only two state championships in school history.
"Those two were a big influence on me," Chick said. "They both tutored me along the way."
He learned his lessons well.
Chick Croft was an outstanding youth league player and played on the VFW Junior League team that also included such outstanding future Packers as Richie DeMott and Mike Creasman.
Croft credits much of his development to coaches Darrell Strange and Ronnie Strange.
"They were very good coaches," he said. "They were very influential in coaching me."
He also began using a knee-buckling curveball taught him by his father.
Croft was ready for varsity competition his freshman year at Moultrie High. And he only got better.
In basketball game, he scored 1,314 points in his career, averaging 16.7 points a game.
The 41 points against Willingham was a school record at the time.
The total likely would have been higher in today's game. There was no 3-point shot then and Croft was not afraid to let it fly from anywhere on the court.
He also scored 38 points and 33 points twice and had a 30-point game while playing for Ed "Preacher" Reeves.
"He was like a father figure to his players," Croft said of Reeves.
Croft was named to the All-Tournament team in Albany three years and was named All-Region two years.
And when basketball season was over, he was ready to pull on the spikes.
Over his first three seasons playing for Little, he compiled a combined 12-0 record on the mound and hit .333, .385 and .490.
Croft was especially impressive as a junior, hitting .490, one of the best averages in the state, and going 3-0 on the mound.
He cut back on his pitching as a senior -- Little was reluctant to take the slick fielder from the shortstop position -- but still went 4-2. He hit .405.
"Coach Little could really motivate you," Croft said.
Following his senior season, he and fellow Packer Mike Creasman were named to play for the South squad in the 1969 North-South All-Star game, which was played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The South won the game, 8-1.
After the All-Star game, he came back he had a tryout for a scout from the Cincinnati Reds.
He says he "stunk it up" at the plate that day, but did impress the coaches at Norman College, who signed him to play both sports there.
After two seasons at Norman College, where he played basketball and baseball for coach Parnell Ruark, Croft gave up athletics, married and went to Valdosta State.
Croft played a lot of softball and coached youth baseball after giving up his athletic career.
He and wife Charlotte, whom he met when he was a senior and she was a sophomore at Moultrie High, have three children: daughters Scarlett and Priscilla and son Ashley.
Croft says that although he hit a game-winning basketball and a game-winning home run in his career, his most memorable athletic moment came when as a youth coach, he watched as his son hit a grand slam.
Croft never played football at Moultrie High, although he likely would have been an excellent addition to some of Bud Willis' fine teams.
Croft said his father thought he was too small for football.
His mother was one of his biggest supporters, often walking from the family's home to watch her boys play.
"She never missed a game," Croft said.
Croft said that, like a lot of youngsters, his dream was to one day play professionally.
And, several years ago while in Albany to watch the Polecats, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Montreal Expos, he wondered again and thought that, yes, maybe he could have played at that level.
But he refuses to second-guess the decisions of his youth.
"Life's a puzzle," he says. "But God knows what is best for us."
This Week's Circulars
MOULTRIE, GA.- Glenn Lamar Cook, 59, passed away on Sunday, June 20, 2021 at his home. Cobb Funeral Chapel has been entrusted with arrangements. Please sign the online guestbook at www.cobbfuneralchapel.com.
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