It won't be long and the call will go out at Coral Seymour Memorial Park to: "Play Ball," and 2012 Oiler baseball season will be underway. Last week as a head start to the crack of the bat the Peninsula Oilers Baseball Club held their traditional "Gusher" and Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "It happened to be Cinco-de-Mayo so we had a Mexican themed baseball party for some 300 faithful Oiler fans. This is our annual fund raiser where we raise money for our scholarships for local kids and of course the expenses of the season. It was a great party and we gave away some great prizes including $10,000 cash that was won by William Forrest who was present and totally thrilled when Dan called his name. It also was a huge honor to induct four new members to the Oilers Hall of Fame," said Sharon Hale long time Oilers Board member.
Officially entering the Oiler Hall of Fame this year was Pitcher Jimmy Key and Infielder Christopher Nyman. In 1081 Key played under Oilers Hall of Fame Coach, Mark Newman. In 1984 he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and eight years later led them to their first playoff appearance and into the 1992 World Series championship where he pitched two winning games. The following year he was signed by the New York Yankees and in 1996 outgunned Greg Maddux of the Braves in the deciding game of that World Series. Key is now retired and an amateur golfer in Palm Beach Gardens.
Christopher Nyman played for the Oilers in 1975 and 1976 where he hit is way to several top 10 All Time Oilers Batting Records including most runs batted in, most base hits, highest batting average and is 5th on the Oilers Single Season Records for Batting Average with an impressive .381. Chris signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1977 and even though he had a relatively short major league career he sketched his name permanently in the Oiler's record books. Neither Nyman nor Key was able to attend the Induction Ceremony.
In the Oiler Hall of Fame Organizational/Support category two local pillars of the community were posthumously inducted this year, Coral Seymour and Vince O'Reilly. According to the Oiler Hall of Fame Committee Seymour was truly one of the original founders of Peninsula Oiler Baseball and for many of the early years was the face of the Oilers holding nearly every title and position possible within the organization including that of General Manager. "It is safe to say that the Oilers would not exist today if not for the tireless dedication and support of selfless people like Coral Seymour," stated the committee. In July 1998 the Oiler's Ballpark in Kenai was rededicated by City Mayor John Williams and Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and renamed Coral Seymour Memorial Park to honor his accomplishments.
Former Borough Mayor and Alaska's Director of Economic Development Vince O'Reilly came to the Peninsula in 1971 with wife Marge and family. "Despite his busy schedule, Vince still made time for his local community becoming a staunch supporter of the newly founded Peninsula Oilers. Oilers baseball became entwined with the O'Reilly family," said the committee. In receiving the award for their father his son Sean said, "You never knew what you were going to be volunteered for next growing up in the O'Reilly family, and one thing for sure you could count on was that when baseball season came your bed would be taken, the fishing gear tangled, and the car would be gone! But I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything in the world my parents always had an open house and we have continued that tradition and being here tonight to receive this honor for my father means a lot to all of us." Margaret O'Reilly-Gilman said, "My Mom was the housing manager for the Oilers so when they were in town I spent most of my summer nights on the couch, but mom always made a big dinner after each Oiler game and my Dad made a big deal about us icing all their elbows and a long time ago I became an Oiler batgirl and loved every minute of it. Dad put a lot of sweat and love into the Oilers and he would have been proud to have been here tonight," she said.
The Oiler Board of Directors instituted an Oilers Hall of Fame in 2010 as a way to show their appreciation to individuals, players, and coaches who have contributed to the success of the Peninsula Oilers. New members will be elected every year. For more information and a complete Oiler schedule go to www.oilersbaseball.com