Placid, formerly Pleasant Grove, baseball celebrated its third annual Day of Honor, June 21. Former and current players, coaches and fans gathered in the small town to enjoy a day-long event with some baseball games and the Wall of Honor induction ceremony.
Over the last 125 years, baseball has been played in Placid. Many great team members have come through, but so have community members who have supported the diamond. Seven people were recognized this year.
Lloyd Kennedy began playing in 1957, in left field. He eventually moved to third base for the rest of his career. Kennedy was a consistent .300 hitter and his speed and athleticism helped get him in scoring position often. He retired after the 1972 season. Kennedy eventually taught and coached his kids on the baseball and softball fields at Placid.
Greg Block played for Placid from 1975-81. The year before he and fellow inductee Bill Hollenbeck started playing, the team went 0-13. The following two years, the team built a 9-5 and 10-2 record. Block won a high percentage of his games as the team’s ace pitcher and struck out 15 batters in a game against Key West in 1978.
Kern “Shorty” McDermott coached a lot of baseball and young men for over a decade in Placid. Unlike some of the other inductees, McDermott isn’t remembered for his time playing on the field. His seven sons often joke about the times when he coached and would try to tape up a wooden bat that someone had cracked. McDermott passed away young, but there were plenty of players who got better under his coaching.
Bill Hollenbeck came to Placid as an outfielder before moving to shortstop. He was part of the turnaround teams in the 1970s along with Block. Hollenbeck became very good at shortstop and his bat matched, making him an all-around good player.
Baldy McDermott played and managed in Placid from 1972-86. In today’s game, he would be considered a utility player — he caught, pitched, played outfield and anywhere else he was needed. He had power-hitting capabilities and was able to swipe a base occasionally.
Chad Demmer may not have played for Placid, but he certainly helped save the ball diamond after a flood in 2011. While swinging through town after the flood, he stopped at the field and talked to a few players trying to salvage something from the damage. Demmer agreed to come and help remove rock that had ended up on the field the following weekend. By the time the Placid players arrived at the field that Saturday, Demmer and his crew had removed 25 dump truck loads of rock that had been in centerfield. This act of kindness created a new category for the Wall of Honor, and Demmer is the first to be recognized as a Loyal Supporter.
Bob Brown will be joining Demmer in the first-ever Loyal Supporter Wall of Honor class. Brown was the go-to guy for anything mechanical at the ballpark. He was involved in many big projects at the diamond such as the installation of the foul pole in left field and helping maintain features like the scoreboard. Brown saved the Placid baseball diamond a large amount of money over the years.