Ken BeardsleeThe name Ken Beardslee has always garnered admiration and respect in this area. Beardslee was a high school phenom on the baseball diamond for Vermontville High School in the late 1940s and spent some time in the minor leagues with the New York Yankees organization.
Thanks to the work of one local fan, the Beardslee name has the opportunity to garner the same kind of admiration on a national level. On July 2, the legendary Vermontville High School pitcher will become just the eighth Michigan native to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. Beardslee, who passed away in 2007, is part of a 12-member class highlighted by former collegiate and NFL coach Steve Spurrier, who excelled in high school as a three-sport star in Johnson City, Tenn.
Local resident Terry Lowery nominated Beardslee for the honor, submitting a two-page application that included a number of Beardslee’s many accomplishments. Lowery has been researching Beardslee’s career for the past two and a half years.
“It’s just amazing,” Lowery said of Beardslee’s high school career. “And, that was just a part of it.”
In three years as a varsity baseball player, Beardslee compiled a 24-1 record as a starting pitcher. His team went 31-1 during that time. What garnered so much attention though, was Beardslee’s knack for striking people out. He set seven national high school records from 1947-49, two of which still remain — 18.1 strikeouts per seven innings for a career and 19 strikeouts per seven innings his senior year. Beardslee also recorded eight no hitters and two perfect games at Vermontville High School.
Beardslee pitched for the Vermontville Merchants his freshman year of high school, before Vermontville High School formed its team. Lowery said the Merchants were so impressed with Beardslee as a freshman, they knew they couldn’t let him miss out on high school baseball his remaining three years of eligibility.
Lowery credits Charlotte Community Library director Jim Oliver and Jim Zemke, curator of the Vermontville Museum for assisting him with his research over the past couple years.
According to a press release from the National Federation of State High School Associations, the 12-member class was selected following a two-level selection process, which included a screening committee 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.
The induction ceremony will take place Saturday, July 2 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nev. Beardslee’s widow, Marilene will accept the honor on his behalf.