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Tim Burr

Johnson Central

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I would say it's nice. The people, (JC fans and parents), make it that much better.

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In the 70s, 80s & early 90s. It was one of the best in the state. Considering the Yankees built it for them. It has slipped a little in recent years, but is still a very nice field. Would like to see a sun screen brought back to center field and maybe cover the seats behind home plate. I would say it is the second best in the region behind only Pikeville. There is an idea, turf it up baby. LOL! It is almost that time again, can't wait to hear the leather a poppin'!

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In the 70s, 80s & early 90s. It was one of the best in the state. Considering the Yankees built it for them. It has slipped a little in recent years, but is still a very nice field. Would like to see a sun screen brought back to center field and maybe cover the seats behind home plate. I would say it is the second best in the region behind only Pikeville. There is an idea, turf it up baby. LOL! It is almost that time again, can't wait to hear the leather a poppin'!
The Yankees did not build Johnson Central's field. Local businessmen, most notably Paul Fyffe, and a former Johnson Central principal, Paul Setser deserve most of the credit for JC having one of the nicest fields in the state. Part of the motivation for the improvements that were made was to attract an Appalachian League team to Paintsville.

 

I am sure that the Yankees put some money into the field while they used it, but the field is what attracted the Yankees to Paintsville. (I may be mistaken, but I believe that the first Appalachian League team to use the field was affiliated with the Brewers.)

 

Mr. Fyffe also promoted the area for a minor league team by organizing and raising funds to equip one of the top American Legion teams in the state for three years that immediately preceded the Brewers' decision to locate a team in Paintsville. The AL team spent a week playing teams in the Knoxville, Morristown, and Tri-City areas of Tennessee. That gave Mr. Fyffe and others an opportunity to lobby league officials to locate a team in Johnson County.

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What years was the field used by pro teams? Any notable players? Anybody have any pics?

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What years was the field used by pro teams? Any notable players? Anybody have any pics?
I may be off by a year or two, but I think that the Brewers sponsored a team on the field around 1977. I don't remember any of the players, but Darryl Strawberry played for another team in the league at one time.

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I may be off by a year or two, but I think that the Brewers sponsored a team on the field around 1977. I don't remember any of the players, but Darryl Strawberry played for another team in the league at one time.

1978 was the first year for professional baseball in Paintsville . The team was first known as the Paintsville Highlanders. The team was made up of players from various major league teams.

 

The Yankees began their affiliation in 1979 and lasted through the 1982 season.

 

The Brewers began their affiliation in 1983 and it was disbanded after the 1984 season.

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Did Greg Maddox play for one of those teams? I thought I saw it on a baseball card one time. Might have been Pikeville.

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Did Greg Maddox play for one of those teams? I thought I saw it on a baseball card one time. Might have been Pikeville.

 

Greg Maddox used to pitch for the Pikeville Cubs...As far as Johnson Central's field is is very nice IMO and I agree it is the 2nd best in the region behind Pikeville's field.

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1978 was the first year for professional baseball in Paintsville . The team was first known as the Paintsville Highlanders. The team was made up of players from various major league teams.

 

The Yankees began their affiliation in 1979 and lasted through the 1982 season.

 

The Brewers began their affiliation in 1983 and it was disbanded after the 1984 season.

Thanks for correcting me and setting the record straight. I had forgotten that the Highlanders were the first Appy team in Paintsville, but I knew that the Yankees were not the first.

 

Some improvements were made during the years that the Rookie League teams called Johnson County home, but the field was among the nicest around before Paintsville landed a minor league team. The playing surface was among the best that I played on, and that was due mainly to the hard work of Paul Setser.

 

Before the new Pikeville field was built, the only field in eastern Kentucky that rivaled the JC field was Morehead State's. Portsmouth had a great field as well. At the time, UK's field was awful in comparison to those three.

 

One of my favorite places to play was Morristown, TN. Morristown had to have had more softball players per capita than any town in the country. Softball fields, baseball fields, and players in uniform were everywhere. I don't remember how the field was that we played on, but I remember all of those uniforms and Morristown's "double-decker" downtown.

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What years was the field used by pro teams? Any notable players? Anybody have any pics?

 

Here are a few names for you:

 

AGE NAME POS MLB TEAMS YEAR AT PAINTSVILLE

YANKEES

17 Greg Gagne SS MN,KC,LAD 1979

20 Otis Nixon OF NYY,CLEV,MON,ATL 1979

BOS,TX,TOR,LAD,MN

 

22 Ed Olwine P ATL 1980

 

19 Orestes Destrade 1B NYY,PIT,FL 1981

21 Bill Lindsey C CHIW 1981

 

22 Tom Barrett 2B PHI,BOS 1982

19 Phil Lombardi OF NYY,NYM 1982

20 Dan Pasqua OF NYY,CHIW 1982

20 Jim Corsi P OAK,HOU,FL,BOS,BAL 1982

18 Eric Plunk P OAK,NYY,CLEV,MIL 1982

17 Jose Rijo P NYY,OAK,CIN 1982

 

BREWERS

20 Glenn Braggs OF MIL,CIN 1983

(I Played softball with him at Dewey Lake that year)

20 LaVel Freeman DH MIL 1983

22 Michael Birkbeck P MIL,NYM 1983

20 Chris Bosio P MIL,SEA 1983

21 Mark Ciardi P MIL 1983

19 Jim Morris P TB 1983

(The movie "THE ROOKIE" was based on Jim Morris!)

18 Dan Murphy P SD 1983

21 Jeff Parrett P MON,PHI,ATL,OAK,COL,STL 1983

21 Dan Plesac P MIL,CHIC,PIT,TOR,ARZ 1983

 

So quite a few nice players have played on the field! This is only the players that were actually on the Paintsville roster. NOT counting the ones that may have played there from other teams.

 

I couldn't find any stats for the 1984 season. I really don't remember them playing that year, but I could be wrong. If anyone else may know maybe you could help me out.

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If I am not mistaken, Cal Ripken JR played his first professional game on the Johnson Central field in 1978 with teammates Larry Sheets and John Shelby, of the Bluefield team, in the Appalachian League.

 

Daryl Strawberry also played here from Kingsport I believe. So some very good players have played at this park.

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According to Joe Taylor, who was one of the coaches when the Yankees was here, when Daryl Strawberry came to Paintsville to play they had a helicopter come in and drop strawberries onto the field.

 

Joe Taylor moved to Paintville from Tampa, Flordia, to help coach the Yankees team. He liked it here so much that when the Yankees moved Joe decided to stay.

 

Joe doesn't miss a Johnson Central game. He usually see him in the dugout or on the side of the field stretch out in a lawn chair. If you ever see him he can tell you some hilarious stories that hosea Rijo had done when he played in Paintsville.

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The field will be even nicer considering we are getting a new infield and many other plans are included.

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