Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Award recipients: Front row, left to right: Trevor Vance, Howard Quigley representing the 1990 Billings State Championship Team, Kay Hunter, Brad Mayfield and Dr. Jim Horton representing Marion C. Early Softball Era of 1987-2008. Back row: Russ Hough representing Pleasant Hill Softball 2000 & 2001 Teams, President’s Award recipient David McQueary, Danny Cox, and Byron Hagler representing the Licking Baseball 1983-1989 Era.
Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Danny Cox, an 18-game winner on the 1985 National League pennant-winning club, is now a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. And a number of honorees can now say the same in joining the elite club.
A crowd of more than 900 turned out Wednesday for the Hall of Fame’s annual Baseball & Softball Luncheon presented by presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company.
Former MLB player and manager Bill Virdon has always attended the event with his wife Shirley and he was very important to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The Springfield area resident even has a statue in his honor at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame building. Virdon passed away in November of 2021 at the age of 90 and this is the first dinner in quite a while that he was not there. David Jerome, who recently penned a biography with Virdon brought Shirley to the event and introduced him to Cox. (Photo, shown left)
“I had forgotten Danny Cox was with the Pirates, for a time,” said Jerome. “He remembered Bill working everyone out with the fungo bat.”
With the event held at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, the Hall of Fame also inducted former Blue Springs and Odessa high school baseball coach Brad Mayfield, Missouri State softball coach Kay Hunter, Kansas City Royals Senior Director of Groundskeeping and Landscaping Trevor Vance, as well as four high school programs/teams: Licking Baseball’s 1983-1989 Era, Marion C. Early Softball’s 1987-2008 Era, Billings’ 1990 State Championship Baseball Team, and the Pleasant Hill 2000 & 2001 State Championship Softball Teams. Additionally, longtime Springfield businessman David McQueary was bestowed the President’s Award.
“We are delighted to welcome our latest honorees,” said Jerald Andrews, CEO & Executive Director of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. “All made tremendous impacts on their teams and in the game overall. We also want to thank their communities, businesses and individuals for supporting the event.”
The Hall of Fame also honored the Diamond 9 Awards presented by BJS Trophy. The awards recognize former high school, college and/or professional standouts, or individuals who made positive contributions to the game in other ways.
This year’s Diamond 9 honorees were: Dr. Mark Baker (Webb City High School/Missouri Southern State University), Charlie Burt (Truman High School/Ban Johnson League/Missouri State University), Tim Clubb (Eureka High School/Missouri State University), Mary Stratton-Johnson (Hillcrest High School/Slow-Pitch Softball), Jordan Logan (North Callaway High School/Jefferson College/Columbia College), Renay Ries Spilker (Blue Springs High School/University of Central Missouri), Tom Stilson (Ozark High School/Stanford University), Justin Stine (West Plains High School/University of Missouri) and Lyndsey Talbot (Jefferson City High School/Central Methodist University).
Videos of Danny Cox during acceptance speech (Courtesy David Jerome):
Bios on award recipients:
Danny Cox – St. Louis Cardinals
Danny Cox was one of the workhorses in the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotations of the mid-1980s. A 13th-round draft pick in 1981 out of Troy University in Alabama, Cox made his big-league debut two years later, the start of an 11-year career in the big leagues, including six in St. Louis. He was an 18-game winner on St. Louis’ 1985 club that won the National League pennant, won 12 games the next season and then recorded 11 wins in 1987 as the Cardinals won yet another NL pennant. He was durable, covering 241, 220 and 199.1 innings in the 1985 through 1987 seasons, respectively. He earned a victory in the 1985 NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched 14 innings over two starts against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, yielding only two earned runs. In 1987, he combined on a 2-3 record in the NLCS and World Series as he churned out 26.2 innings, including a big Game 7 in the NLCS. Cox later pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays. Overall, he won 74 games in the big leagues, striking out 723 batters in 1,292 innings.
Brad Mayfield – Baseball Coach
A 1969 graduate of Blue Springs High School, Brad Mayfield coached high school baseball for 32 seasons – including 27 at his alma mater. He compiled an overall record of 513-231-3. After graduating from the University of Central Missouri, he was a Blue Springs volunteer assistant in 1978 and 1979, and then was head coach from 1981 to 2007. Four teams reached the Final Four. Blue Springs’ 1999 and 2007 teams won state titles, and his 1988 and 1998 teams were state runners-up. Additionally, his Blue Springs teams won 13 conference championships and nine district titles. They also made five state quarterfinal appearances. At Odessa, his teams were 60-60 and won a district title in 2018. In American Legion baseball, Mayfield founded and managed Fike/Post 499 from 1978 to 1983, coached the Rod’s Sports A’s Blue Springs all but one season between 1998 and 2014 and then Odessa Post 286 from 2015-2018.
Kay Hunter – Missouri State Softball Coach
In the decade she was at the helm of the Missouri State softball team, Mary Kay Hunter maintained one of the most respected programs in the country. She compiled five national top finishes in the AIAW, or Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. That included winning it all in 1974. Her other national finishes included ninth place in 1972, third place in 1973, first in 1974, seventh in 1977 and 1978, and ninth in 1980. During that period, her teams claimed six state and two regional titles. Overall, Hunter coached Bears softball from 1972 to 1982, compiling a 227-111 record (.672). A native of nearby Mount Vernon, Hunter was a physical education major at Missouri State and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1955. Over the next 10 years, she taught physical education in Pittsburg, Kan., and Carthage, Mo. In 1966, she came back to Missouri State as a supply instructor and served as assistant basketball coach while working on her master’s degree from Missouri. From 1968 to 1971, she taught physical education at Southwest Baptist College and coached basketball and tennis. Hunter once again returned to MSU in 1971 as a PE instructor.
Trevor Vance – Kansas City Royals
Trevor Vance is in his 38th season with the Kansas City Royals, and his 28th as the Senior Director of Groundskeeping and Landscaping. In his current role, Vance oversees the supervision and overall operation of the natural grass field at Kauffman Stadium. He also works with the Dominican Academy, Urban Youth Academy and minor league groundskeepers to support and promote safe playing surfaces throughout the organization. Vance joined the Major League grounds crew as a part-time member in 1985 and became a full-time staff member in 1988. He was named Assistant Groundskeeper in 1993, before assuming his current post prior to the 1995 season. He has worked with several youth organizations throughout Kansas City to help promote safe playing surfaces for all youth sports. A native of Raytown and a 1985 graduate of Raytown High School, Vance was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in September of 2015. He attended the University of Central Missouri.
Licking High School Baseball 1983-1989 Era
In the Texas County community of Licking, located about 35 minutes south of Rolla, locals always look forward to baseball season. As they should. Licking High School enjoyed quite an era from 1983 to 1989, advancing to six Final Fours in seven seasons. The run featured state championships in 1988 and 1989, as well as state runner-up finishes in 1983 and 1985. The 1986 and 1987 clubs placed third. Those teams were led by coach Byron Hagler (MSHOF 2015), who was 348-94 and won 13 district titles at Licking over 15 seasons (1979 to 1994). The 1988 team beat Salisbury 8-5 in the championship game and finished 18-5. The 1989 club edged Neelyville 3-1 and finished 16-3. That came after Licking lost its top pitcher, Phillip Gambill, to an eye injury ahead of the quarterfinals. He returned for the final two games, earning the pitching wins in the semifinal and final. Overall, Licking compiled a 124-32 record during the era.
Marion C. Early (Morrisville) High School Softball 1987-2008 Era
When folks talk about the powerhouses of high school softball, the Marion C. Early Lady Panthers are certainly in the conversation. The Morrisville school, located in Polk County and north of Springfield, advanced to 12 Final Fours from 1987 to 2008. Along the way, they won two state championships in Class 1-2, the first playing out in 1988 under the leadership of coach Gary Murphy and the second one secured in 1992 with coach Jim Horton. The Lady Panthers were a state runner-up in 1987, placed third in 1990 and 2006, and then had seven fourth-place finishes. Those finishes covered the years 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2008. The Lady Panthers were 456-116 (.797) in the era, winning 21 Polk County League championships and 18 district titles. They also reached the state quarterfinals five other times. Coaches in the era were Murphy (1987, 1988), Don Gray (1990), Horton (1992-1997), Matt Henenberg (1998), Mike McHolland (1999-2003), Melody Campbell Stewart (2004-2007) and Matt Walker (2008).
Billings High School 1990 State Championship Baseball Team
Coached by Howard Quigley (MSHOF 2020), the Billings Wildcats won the 1990 state championship in Class 1. The team beat Holcomb 8-7 in the championship game after scoring six runs with two outs in the final inning, finishing a perfect 21-0. That team included assistant Randy Robertson and players Gary Ebert, Mike Fenske, Chris Gold, Chris Bos, Jason Salchow, Pat McMillan, Eric Herd, Danny Young, Joe Vermale, Scott Geld, Lyndell Plowman, Allan Stotle, Jon Nielebock, Terry Russell, Craig Harter, Matt Chastain and Randy Whitman. In the semifinal and final, Fenske pitched 10 no-hit innings – six in the semifinal, four in the final. In fact, he and Gold combined on a no-hitter in the semifinal, which is one of 14 in the history of the Final Four. That season, Billings beat Willard, which eventually placed third in Class 3. It also was part of a 30-game win streak that reached into the following season, when Billings won the Southwest Central Association again and placed third at the state tournament.
Pleasant Hill High School 2000 & 2001 State Championship Softball Teams
Pleasant Hill High School’s softball teams of 2000 and 2001 were among the most dominate in Show-Me State history. They won Class 3 state championships with a combined record of 62-1. The 2000 team beat Webb City 2-1 to finish 32-0, and then the 2001 team beat Helias Catholic of Jefferson City 1-0 to finish 30-1. Pleasant Hill had eight one-run wins in the 2000 season, including 2-1 in the sectional and 1-0 in the quarterfinal. The 2001 team won its season opener, suffered a 7-0 setback to Oak Park in Game 2 and then won the rest of the way. In the finale, Pleasant Hill beat Helias Catholic in 21 innings in a game that lasted more than four hours. The coach of both teams was Russ Hough.
David McQueary – President’s Award
An avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, it’s only fitting that David McQueary is bestowed the President’s Award during the Baseball & Softball Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company. The award recognizes individuals who champion the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and other sports across the state. McQueary was the third generation to be involved in the McQueary Brothers Drug Co., a family-owned business that was in operation for 84 years until it sold in 2008. His dad and uncle, along with David, were among the first folks called by Jerald Andrews, the Hall of Fame’s CEO & Executive Director, when he arrived in 1995. The McQueary’s have been involved in almost everything since. David has been a longtime member of the Hall of Fame’s Governing Board. He also gives back to the Ozarks children’s charities of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. He has sponsored a team in the Price Cutter Pro-Am for years, as well as sponsored the Celebration of Sharing presented by The McQueary Family, in which charities receive their checks. Even when he lived out of town, David continued supporting both organizations.
DIAMOND 9 AWARDS
Dr. Mark Baker – Webb City High School/Missouri Southern State University
Baker was a four-year starter for Webb City High School and, upon graduation, ranked in the top five at Webb City in career batting average, doubles, hits and home runs, as well as top five in pitching categories such as earned run average, strikeouts, wins and innings pitched. He also was all-conference twice in basketball and was a letterman in football. At Missouri Southern, where he was a designated hitter and pitcher, Baker was a four-year letterman who earned first team all-conference in 1989, and then was a three-time selection (1990, 1991, 1992) to the All-MIAA team. The 1991 and 1992 teams reached the NCAA Division II College World Series, with the 1991 team finishing as the national runner-up. Baker was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team that season. He later coached baseball, softball and swimming at Carthage High School until going into administration. After spending six years as an administrator for Carl Junction Schools, Baker has served the past 20 years in the central office of the Carthage School District, the past five as Superintendent.
Charlie Burt – Truman High School/Ban Johnson League/Missouri State University
Burt was a three-sport letterman at Truman in the late 1960s, including all-conference in baseball. He pitched back-to-back one-hitters in the district finals and in the first round of the state tournament. He also pitched five no-hitters in amateur baseball, where he was 18-3 in two seasons for Independence American Legion. Burt also played in the Ban Johnson Summer League. In 1968, he led the league in strikeouts, with 110 in 71 innings, and made the All-Star team. At Missouri State, Burt lettered three years and was a combined 16-4. In 1969, a season when the Bears reached the NCAA Division II College World Series, Burt beat Arkansas 2-0, struck out 17 in the conference championship game and earned First Team All-NCAA Central Region. He then became the first Kansas City-area amateur drafted by the Royals, in the 49th round. Burt pitched one season with Winnipeg of the low Class A Northern League. He is currently president of Mid-States School Equipment in Lee’s Summit.
Tim Clubb – Eureka High School/Missouri State University
At Missouri State, Clubb turned in arguably one of the top pitching performances in school history in 2008 and, in the process, earned a slate of recognition. He earned All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball (First Team) and the American Baseball Coaches Association (Second Team), and was the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year. Clubb was 11-0 with a 2.52 earned run average, setting a program record for wins without suffering a defeat in the process. The 11 wins rank third all-time at Missouri State in a single season, while his 21 career victories are tied for the seventh-highest total. His 278 career innings pitched rank fifth on the all-time list. In 2009, Clubb also helped the Bears to the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship, and he later signed with the Chicago Cubs after being selected in the 29th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. All this came after Clubb was a four-year letterwinner at Eureka High School, where he was All-State, all-conference and all-metro twice. Clubb has been an outside sales representative for SMC Packaging Group since 2015.
Mary Stratton-Johnson – Hillcrest High School/Slow-Pitch Softball
One of the most successful players in women’s slow-pitch softball in Springfield, Stratton-Johnson started playing in 1973 and was known for her power, speed and versatility as she manned shortstop and the outfield. One of her most notable achievements was participating in the 1990 U.S. Olympic Festival. That was in addition to playing on teams that reached six national tournaments, four regionals and 22 state tournaments. Her teams won six state titles and a regional. One of those teams, Brentwood-Kinder, placed fourth in 1989 at nationals. In that tournament, Stratton-Johnson hit .520 with three triples and earned First Team All-American. She also appeared in one co-ed national tournament and 16 state co-ed tournaments, in which her teams won five state tournaments. Stratton-Johnson is a 1981 graduate of Hillcrest High School, where she still holds the shot put record and also played basketball and tennis. She lives in Springfield and is retired from O’Reilly Auto Parts.
Jordan Logan – North Callaway High School/Jefferson College/Columbia College
At North Callaway, Logan earned multiple All-State, all-conference and all-district selections as a pitcher, including in 2007 when she led North Callaway to the Class 3 state title. She finished her career with a 1.45 earned run average. At Jefferson College, she struck out 279 batters in two seasons, had a 1.32 ERA and .375 batting average. She then played at Columbia College, compiling a 1.13 ERA, and later made an impact as the team’s pitching coach. She helped pitching staffs that fueled back-to-back NAIA Softball World Series berths – including a national runner-up finish in 2018. As a coach, she also helped guide staffs that had 1.47 and 2.21 ERAs and propelled the Cougars to a combined 85-23 record. She was a finalist for the 2016-2017 Women’s Intersport Network Mentor of the Year and was a spokesperson at the 2017-2018 MSHSAA Coaches Clinic. Logan is currently the pitching coach at Evangel University.
Renay Ries Spilker – Blue Springs High School/Central Missouri University
A 1985 graduate of Blue Springs High School, Spilker was a three-year varsity letterwinner in softball, basketball and volleyball, earning All-State in softball and volleyball. At the University of Central Missouri, she played softball from 1986 to 1989 and was the first NCAA Division II All-American (1988) in program history. She also was a two-time All-Region and four-time All-MIAA selection, including appearing on three first team lists. As a senior, Spilker helped the Jennies to a 36-12 record and fourth-place finish in NCAA D-II. An inductee of the UCM Athletics Hall of Fame, she is still all over the all-time lists: 14th in hits (177), seventh in batting average (.346) and seventh in triples. As recently as 2007, she ranked eighth in doubles (31), fourth in home runs (11), seventh in total bases (263) and seventh in RBI (76). Spilker is currently a school teacher for Trail West Elementary in Kansas City.
Tom Stilson – Ozark High School/Stanford University
Stilson led Ozark’s 2004 club to the Class 3 state championship and a 29-4 record. He was an All-State selection that season in addition to earning All-Ozarks, All-Ozark Conference and All-District. That came after the junior pitcher posted an 11-0 record (a Class 3 record) and 0.90 earned run average, with the left-hander striking out 95 batters in 77 innings. He also hit .394 with 36 RBI. Stilson helped Ozark win four consecutive conference championships and two district titles in his time there. Additionally, he was the No. 1 prospect at the 2004 Team One National Showcase and pitched that summer in the prestigious Area Code Games, earning All-Star honors. He also played for Team Florida USA (2003-2004) and for the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League (2006-2007). Stilson signed with Stanford University. These days, Stilson works for the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
Justin Stine – West Plains High School/University of Missouri
Stine made a name for himself in the Show-Me State on the mound during the mid-1990s. A left-hander, he fashioned a dominant prep career for West Plains High School, earning conference Pitcher of the Year honors as a senior in 1995. He then embarked on a four-year collegiate career at the University of Missouri, where he was twice All-Big 12 Conference. In 1996, he helped the Tigers to a Big 8 Conference title and NCAA Midwest Regional berth while earning Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors. Stine led Mizzou in innings pitched and complete games in each of his final three seasons. He also paced the Tiger pitching staff in strikeouts in two of those years. He logged team-best, nine-victory campaigns in 1997 and 1999, earning a pair of Second Team All-Big 12 citations while helping the Tigers top the 30-win plateau in each of his four years. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 22nd round of the 1999 MLB Draft and pitched professionally for parts of five seasons.
Lyndsey Talbot – Jefferson City High School/Central Methodist University
Talbot played her final two high school seasons at Jefferson City High School under coach Lisa Dey, helping the Jays finish as a state runner-up her senior year. At Central Methodist from 2008 to 2010, she helped the program win its first Heart of America Athletics Conference title during her freshman season. She later joined the coaching staff as an assistant. In her time on staff, the Eagles won four HAAC titles (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016) and made three trips to the NAIA National Tournament from 2014-2016, with the 2015 team finishing fifth in the nation. She has been a part of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Regional Coaching Staff of the Year (2014-2016) and is in her sixth year as head coach at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, having launched the program. Five players have earned All-Region, including one who led the NJCAA in strikeouts.