Vermontville Star Named to NFHS Hall

March 1, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

Record-setting Vermontville High School baseball star Ken Beardslee, who continues to hold two national strikeout records more than 65 years after his final high school pitch, was one of 12 individuals named Tuesday to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Beardslee, who died in 2007, will be inducted as one of five athletes selected for the 34th Hall of Fame class at a ceremony during the NFHS summer meeting July 2 in Reno, Nev.; the rest of the class is made up of coaches, administrators and an official. He was nominated through the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Beardslee has been proclaimed as “prep baseball’s first ace” in the NFHS National High School Sports Record Book and was featured in the former print version of the book for his incredible feats from 1947-49. In his three years on the mound for Vermontville, Beardslee won 24 of his 25 starts (the team was 31-1 during that time). His 24 victories included eight no-hitters, with two perfect games, and seven one-hitters.

He set seven national records, and two still stand after 66 years: his per-game season strikeout mark of 19.0 and his per-game career strikeout mark of 18.1.

Beardslee will become the Hall of Fame’s eighth inductee from Michigan, joining Charles Forsythe, the first executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (inducted 1983); River Rouge boys basketball coach Lofton Greene (1986), Warren Regina softball coach Diane Laffey (2000), Fennville basketball, football, track and baseball standout Richie Jordan (2001), Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett boys and girls tennis coach Bob Wood (2005), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook hockey standout Jim Johnson (2007) and Owosso football, basketball and baseball all-stater Brad Van Pelt (2011).

“It’s been said that records are made to be broken,” wrote MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts in his letter supporting Beardslee’s nomination. “But the strikeout numbers Ken Beardslee recorded in the late 1940s have stood the test of time, just like some of the shutout and strikeout numbers 2009 Hall of Fame honoree David Clyde amassed some 20 years later. But Clyde never came close to Beardslee’s 19.0 Ks per game in a season or 18.1 per game for a career, and neither has anyone else.”

Beardslee is listed 10 times in the MHSAA record book. He shares the record for career no-hitters and is second with two career perfect games and a 0.32 career earned run average. In addition to his two national strikeout records still standing, he’s listed in the MHSAA records with games of 26, 25 (both extra innings) and 20 strikeouts (in seven innings) during the 1949 season. His 209 strikeouts that spring rank fourth for one season in MHSAA history, and his 452 over three seasons rank 12th on the career strikeouts list.

Beardslee was drafted by the New York Yankees immediately after graduating from high school and pitched in the minor leagues from 1949 to 1956, when an injury ended his playing career. Beardslee went on to scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 21 years, and he received a World Series ring after the team’s championship win in 1971. He also went on to write eight books including novels, poetry and an instructional on pitching.

He is survived by his wife Marilene, who is expected to attend the ceremony this summer to accept his honor.

The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 447.

The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations. Also chosen for this class were athletes Steve Spurrier (Tennessee), Marlin Briscoe (Nebraska), Joni Huntley (Oregon) and Tom Southall (Colorado); coaches Chuck Kyle (Ohio), Peg Kopec (Illinois), Pete Boudreaux (Louisiana) and Jack Holloway (Delaware); administrators Tim Flannery (NFHS) and Ennis Proctor (Mississippi), and official Eugene “Lefty” Wright (Minnesota). 

For more on this year’s Hall of Fame class, visit the NFHS Website. For more on Michigan’s past inductees, visit the MHSAA Website.

Rep Council Considers Several Topics During Fall Meeting for 2023-24 Work

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 7, 2023

The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association began examining several topics during its Fall Meeting, Dec. 1 in East Lansing – including start and end dates of the winter calendar, possible new transfer rule exceptions and emerging sports – that will shape its work during the winter and spring meetings of this 2023-24 school year.

Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in March and May. The Council did take three actions this time as part of larger conversations expected to continue over the next six months.

The Council joined staff discussion on the start and end dates of winter seasons and the possibility of moving up both, which was among topics surveyed as part of the Update Meeting poll completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state this fall. Staff will prepare a recommendation for Council to review at a future meeting regarding the 2025-26 school year and beyond.

MHSAA staff also provided a variety of transfer rule issues encountered over the last year, and Council discussed the possibility of adding transfer rule exceptions related to military transfer families, fulltime school employee transfers and students returning from a sports academy or prep school and seeking immediate eligibility. The Council did adopt a change for multi-high school districts (with at least three high schools) that include both boundary and non-boundary schools that more clearly defined where students at those schools have immediate eligibility.

The Council also discussed possible new and emerging sports, including proposals for MHSAA sponsorship received by the water polo and field hockey governing bodies and an anticipated proposal to add boys volleyball to the MHSAA Tournament lineup.

Several more conversations regarded MHSAA postseasons:

  • The Council reviewed the work of the Football Task Force and considered a staff recommendation to have the Football Committee in January discuss possibly capping enrollment of Division 8 11-player schools at 250 students to incentivize schools within that group to play 11-player instead of switching to 8-player.
  • MHSAA staff have identified four areas requiring financial increases – MHSAA Tournament officials fees, host schools compensations, manager honorariums and team reimbursements for Finals participants – and the Council discussed the importance of including these when the MHSAA Audit & Finance Committee meets in February to begin the 2024-25 budgetary process.
  • The Council also discussed recommendations from the MHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee addressing possible requirements of emergency action plans and AEDs at MHSAA Tournament sites.

The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Wyoming Godfrey-Lee Schools superintendent Arnetta Thompson and Freeland Middle School principal Jennifer Thunberg to two-year terms to the 19-person Council, the first terms for both. The Council also reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson as its vice president, and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer.

The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.