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November 15, 2013

Caldwell leads Hall Class of 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. — ROCKY MOUNT — Former Major League Baseball pitcher Ralph Michael "Mike" Caldwell appeared to be as proud as throwing a no-hitter Thursday night when he walked on stage to give a speech during the 10th annual Twin County Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Accepting for her late mother – Jennie Douglas Taylor, a renowned educator – Ann Davis expressed the same emotions.

Caldwell and Taylor were two of the 10 inducted in the Twin County Hall of Fame Thursday night at Nash Community College. Of the 10, six, including Caldwell and Taylor had some type of connection to Edgecombe County. Seven out of the 10 were posthumously inducted.  

Born and raised in Tarboro, Caldwell played baseball at Tarboro High School and pitched two no-hitters his senior year. He was also quarterback for Tarboro's  1965 team that won the 3-A state football title.

However, it was baseball where Caldwell excelled. He continued his baseball career at N.C. State University, where he led the Wolfpack to the College World Series in 1968.

By then, Major League scouts had their eyes on him. He was drafted by San Diego in 1971. He professional career got off to a slow start.

After three seasons with the Padres, he was traded to San Francisco Giants and three years later to the Cincinnati Reds, then to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Caldwell found his niche in Milwaukee. Caldwell pitched in the 1982 World Series against St. Louis and finished second to Ron Guidry in voting for the Cy Young Award.

"Baseball is one sport that teaches you about life," Caldwell said during the ceremony. "It is a long hard path to play a whole season. You have to learn to accept defeat. You have to learn to be a good winner. When it all said and done, if you learn to be a great winner, you will succeed in life, as well as sports, and also by doing that you are learning when you are defeated because you will get defeated. You have to get up and try it again. It is a tremendous honor to be here."

Taylor was born in Charlotte, but worked throughout North Carolina in the fields of education and public health. A graduate of Biddle/Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, she attended Atlanta University and completed her Master at the University of Michigan.

Taylor taught at Fayetteville State University in the 1930s, leaving that position to become the Public Health Educator for the state of North Carolina. She also organized the Public Health Education Department at N.C. Central University.  Taylor moved to Tarboro after retiring from N.C. Central in the 1970s and co-founded the Community Enrichment Organization and served as a mentor to many young people. She died in 2006 at the age of 99.

Davis spoke proudly of her mother's education accolades.

"It gives me great pleasure to be here tonight," she said. "For those of you who didn't know her, I wish you would have known her. She was an amazing human, black woman who could tell you a story about people who most of have only read about in the history book.

"Her mission in life was to make sure every person, black or white, who crossed her path knew that they were somebody."

Davis ended her speech by asking the audience to repeat in unison, "I am somebody."

Born in Tarboro, Charles Killebrew Jr., made a name for himself as a photographer in Rocky Mount. Killebrew graduated from Tarboro High School and later joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

It was reported that Killebrew took over a half million pictures of people, places and things in the Twin County. His collection was given to Braswell Library

Walter C. Bryant was also a Rocky Mount photographer, who photographed the Twin Counties. Bryant opened a studio in 1945 on the Douglas Block in Rocky Mount, where he took pictures for the next 50 years.

Cyrus Melvin Edson was born in Virginia but spent his educational career in Edgecombe and Nash counties, where he served as teacher, coach, high school principal, director of secondary schools and associate superintendent for Rocky Mount Public Schools. Edison died in 1975

Benjamin E. Fountain Sr., who was raised in Leggett, joined four other members of his family in the Twin County Hall of Fame. Fountain was a Rocky Mount attorney who served seven terms in the N.C. House of Representative. Fountain died in 1969

Henry Boone Grant, a pediatrician; William "Bill" Murray, a college football coach; Deborah Sloan Kornegay, a community activist; and Tom Suiter, WRAL-TV sports anchor were also inducted

"This year's inductees represents a good crossbreed of the two county area in turns of their occupation and their accomplishment," said Steve Raper, the president of the Twin County Community Pride Inc. (TCCP).

The goal of the TCCP is to honor citizens of Nash and Edgecombe Counties who have made broad and lasting contributions to the betterment of the community or who have brought recognition to the community through their accomplishments. By recognizing these individuals, the Twin County Hall of Fame will stimulate an interest in and an appreciation for the value of the history of this community and its citizens.

 

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