Helma Hahn Bowers
For a career that not only developed outstanding athletic teams and recreational programs, but for a life style that enriched the lives of all those who were privileged to know her.
Debbie Thompson Brown
Maryland’s first female Olympic track athlete. Tokyo 1964, world and American record holder, international traveler, and an All-American selection as a member of the Frederick Track Club.
Charles Keller was a member of the world champion New York Yankees, an inspiration to every boy in Frederick County, and above all else, a gentleman.
Pitcher extraordinaire, Bill King had a lifelong association with baseball that encompassed playing, coaching, and promoting. Frederick County profited because of his dedication and love of the national pastime.
Harry LeGore had an outstanding collegiate football career at Yale University that earned him All-American honors and words of praise from such greats as Knute Rockne and Walter Camp.
A Frederick County product, Glenn McQuillen worked his way through the professional baseball system to become a St. Louis Brown player. His style and perseverance mark him as a worthy example for all those who aspire to reach the major leagues.
Alvin G. Quinn
Alvin G. Quinn, above all others, through his athletic and administrative ability and his understanding of children, displayed those qualities that render a boy a man.
Earl J. Rhoderick
Earl J. Rhoderick was an athlete’s athlete who displayed an all-around natural ability as a player and an extraordinary understanding of team theory and coaching concepts as a promoter. He was the best of his day.
A man for all seasons, Lloyd Rice was this county’s finest all-around athlete, an outstanding high school and collegiate baseball, basketball, and tennis player. He was a professional and highly respected member of the world of sport.
A Frederick County boy who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox, Ted Beard was an outstanding fielder and long-ball hitter during his talented career as a professional player, and in later years was a gifted manager and coach of minor league teams. He was known as the “Pride of Woodsboro”.
The Christy Matthewson of the minor leagues, Clarence “Climax” Blethen became a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers major league team. He gave unselfishly of himself to the sport of baseball and the youth of Frederick County through his active participation in semi-pro and Little League organizations.
A member of the United States Deaf Hall of Fame, Noah Downes was considered the greatest deaf basketball player during the first half of the twentieth century. A remarkable all-around athlete who recorded outstanding performances as a baseball and basketball player, the pride of Gallaudet and the Maryland School for the Deaf, he was an inspiration to all who were privileged to know him.
A great baseball player who grew from local sandlots to become a premier fielding short stop with the major league Cleveland Indians until his career was cut short by injury, Ray Gardiner also played in AAA minor leagues for several years, and then managed and played with the Frederick Hustlers in the Blue Ridge League. Connie Mack called him the greatest short stop he’d ever seen.
Jack Griffin was a talented athlete in basketball, track, and swimming; a tireless worker in coaching youth track teams; a coach of the 1964, 1976, and 1984 Olympic teams; a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee; a coach at the World Games for the Deaf in 1965 and 1985; a coach of the AAU TAC, International Tours, Junior College, High School and of several local clubs.
Jack Griffin passed away May 29, 2017. Read more about Jack’s life and passion below.
Jack Griffin, Frederick County track and field royalty, dies at 89
About 15 years ago, Jack Griffin decided it was a good idea to catalog some of his track and field coaching accomplishments. So he grabbed some plain white paper and started jotting them in his distinctive handwriting — a mix of cursive and block letters — with the kind of trusty black Flair pen he used for nearly all of his correspondence. At the top, he wrote, “To the best of my knowledge, the following pages are accurate.”
He was getting older, and he wanted to put everything on the record before he started forgetting.
It was a tall task.
“You can’t remember everything he’s done,” said Becky Griffin, the youngest of Jack’s three children.
During an illustrious career that never really ended, Jack Griffin coached for the United States in three Summer Olympics (1964, 1976, 1984) and was the leader of several national teams. He coached Frederick’s only Olympian, along with two world record holders, eight USA international athletes and 12 national champions. His Frederick High School track and cross-country teams claimed 14 state titles.
Griffin, a gifted coach and selfless teacher who was track and field royalty in Frederick County, died Monday afternoon at Frederick Memorial Hospital. He was 89.
Griffin’s achievements came from a masterful ability to coax potential out of his athletes and motivate them with a demanding yet compassionate tact. The Frederick native put his hometown on the map in the world of track and field in the 1960s, and continued coaching that sport in some capacity until September 2016 — just two months before he went to Northampton Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation in Frederick.
After he had retired, he was still a fixture on the county track scene. If a big meet was happening, Griffin would be there even if he wasn’t coaching any kids, often donning an Olympic hat and sitting in a red lawn chair to comfort a pair of hips that had been replaced. The county indoor championship meet is named in his honor, as is the press box at Frederick High School’s stadium.
Over the course of a career in which he taught physical education for 30 years, Griffin, a 1953 graduate of New York University, juggled multiple jobs simultaneously. He worked for the City Recreation Department for 47 years. He founded or organized local programs and events for track and field (the Frederick Track Club), swimming (YMCA swim teams), volleyball (city recreation league), diving (Frederick Area Divers) and triathlon. Over the years, he coached at Frederick High and for his club team, the YMCA, Maryland School for the Deaf, Frederick Community College and Hood College.
Said his daughter, “He was everywhere,” carrying starting blocks in the trunk of his Cadillac and with a stopwatch in his possession. He was always ready to coach or share his knowledge.
Becky said her father received coaching offers from many colleges over the years, but he never wanted to leave Frederick. “He wanted to give back to the community,” she said.
“We’re proud of the man that he was,” she added. “He looked for the good in everyone and he brought out the best in everyone. He was a kind, sweet soul, and he was giving. He was just amazing.”
Thanks to Griffin’s reputation, prestigious events were awarded to Frederick, highlighted by the U.S. Women’s Olympics Track and Field Trials, which were held at Thomas Johnson High School in 1972. He also helped bring the National Women’s Track and Field Championships to Frederick in 1966. Others were the 1968 National Women’s Cross Country Meet and the 1970 International Women’s Cross Country meet.
“The biggest surprise to me was the many national and international events he brought to Frederick,” said Stan Goldberg, longtime sports editor at The Frederick News-Post. “I couldn’t imagine, Frederick was little, Frederick having such a major meet. It showed the importance and how much the track community trusted this man.”
Events like that are the bullet points on Griffin’s thick résumé. But his greatest impact was made in one-on-one connections with his track athletes — some of whom were world class.
Debbie Thompson Brown and Tammy Davis Thompson were Griffin’s biggest stars. Their three names will forever be linked in Frederick County lore.
Around 1960, the two girls were brought to Griffin’s attention after they ran some eye-popping 50-yard dash times in a junior high gym class fitness test. He tested them further by having them race a boy. The boy came in third.
Soon, Thompson Brown and Davis Thompson were on the track with Griffin’s club team, getting put through the wringer by a man who had them learning and trying every event in the sport.
“He was very hard, but he was teaching us from scratch,” Davis Thompson said. “And, of course, being very young, we just thought it was horrible. … At that time, we didn’t know, but he was trying to find out which events were best for each one of us.”
He put Thompson Brown in the sprints and Davis Thompson in the hurdles. They rapidly ascended under his guidance, traveling all over the country — and sometimes outside of it — to AAU meets that would help them advance and improve.
Brown made the 1964 Olympic team that competed in Tokyo. She ran in the 200 meters. Griffin was one of the U.S. team’s coaches.
Thompson, an alternate on that team in the 800-meter hurdles, set indoor world records for the 50-yard hurdles and the indoor 70-yard hurdles, both when she was only 15 years old.
She seemed poised to make the U.S. team for the 1964 Olympics, but she hit the second-to-last hurdle
An outstanding springboard diver who earned national acclaim as a qualifier for the 1952 Olympic trials, Barbara McCutcheon Martin also earned Junior National championships, plus numerous regional and state AAU titles on the one- and three-meter boards. She was an excellent physical educator, coach, and promoter of aquatic sports.
Guy Ramsburg is considered the most outstanding fast- pitch softball third baseman in Frederick County history. A member of the Maryland Hall of Fame, Ramsburg was the backbone of the legendary Dr. Pepper team. He was an excellent all-around athlete and an outstanding sports enthusiast and promoter.
Tammy Davis Thompson was a world record holder for the indoor 50-, 60-, and 70-yard hurdle events established in Toronto, Berlin, and Louisville, respectively. She was five times a National Champion and five times an All American as a member of the Frederick Track Club. A Tennessee State University Tigerbelle and a world traveler, Davis-Thompson was a credit to this nation and an inspiration to its youth.
A unanimous choice by peers as the best all-around athlete of his day, Tony Wagner was an excellent trackman, tennis, football and baseball player. He was a respected athlete, coach, and promoter of sports during his long association with athletes.
This nation’s most outstanding individuals and teams appeared and participated in Frederick due to Robert L. Grove’s pursuit of excellence and unparalleled skill as a promoter of sports. Dempsey, Braddock, the Celtics, and the Renaissance were but a few who gave area spectators numerous thrills to remember, thanks to Robert Grove.
For 40 years, William Hauver was a truly dedicated teacher, champion coach, master of discipline, and highly respected member of the Middletown community.
CARLTON MOLESWORTH SR. by CM III – 5/6/2009
Carlton Molesworth was a baseball man, spending 52 years as a professional player, manager and scout.
He was born on Feb. 15, 1876, in Frederick, MD, the second son of Thomas E. and Drusilla Molesworth. His parents were tenant farmers who worked and lived on land belonging to the local Orphans Court, located just beyond the Maryland School for the Deaf on South Market Street.
According to family lore, Carlton quit school in the third grade after learning to read and write so he could work on the farm. He was drawn to the new sport of baseball, however, and in 1892 he joined a team fielded by the School for the Deaf. To stay in shape in the off-season, he served as a fireman on a team of men who towed a steam pumper on foot from the fire house to the blaze.
“I had been playing amateur ball around Frederick and had never participated in a league game,” he told the Frederick News-Post in 1915 for a story on the 20th anniversary of his start in pro baseball. “Winning thirty-two straight games however, had caused widespread attention, and I was ordered to report to Washington for a trial.”
“Moley,” as he was known, pitched a scant two weeks for the Washington Senators at the end of the 1895 season, his only stint playing in the Major Leagues. His stats were unimpressive in his four games on the mound. That winter he fell while ice skating and injured his pitching shoulder, changing the course of his career. Unable to continue pitching, he spent the next six seasons playing the outfield for various minor league teams in the Northeast.
With 1902 came a move to Montgomery, AL, and the Southern Association, where his career blossomed. He led the league in hitting in 1905 and led many other offensive categories as well over the years. Traded to the Birmingham (AL) Barons in 1907, he took on additional duties the following year as team manager in addition to playing center field. He also had a hand in the design of Birmingham’s Rickwood Stadium, which opened in 1912 and is now the oldest surviving professional baseball park in the nation.
Molesworth led the Barons to Southern Association championships in 1912 and 1914, then hung up his glove after the 1915 season at the age of 39. He continued to manage the Barons through 1922, taking time off during World War I to serve in the YMCA as a physical fitness instructor for soldiers headed overseas. By some accounts, this service cost him the chance to manage in the Majors.
After serving as manager of the Columbus (OH) Senators in the International League 1923-25, Molesworth went to work as a full-time scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Considered a shrewd judge of baseball talent, he signed many players who went on to successful careers in the majors, including Hall-of-Famers Harold “Pie” Traynor and the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd. He retired from baseball in 1947.
Molesworth was married three times. He had three daughters in the course of his first two marriages, though his first two wives died. He then married Sarah Phleeger, one of Frederick County’s first telephone operators, in about 1914. They had two sons, Carlton Jr. born in 1918 and Thomas E. born in 1922.
While living in Birmingham, the Molesworths spotted a house they admired and made plans to build a home similar to it in Frederick. They bought a five-acre parcel on the western edge of town and constructed their dream home in 1925. The land ran from 515 to 521 Wilson Place and extended westward to what is now the fence at Fort Detrick. The smoke house, chicken coops, a dog pen and a small cherry orchard were located behind the house, which was primarily red brick on the outside but with a band of yellow bricks around the middle of it (it’s painted gray now).
Sarah Phleeger Molesworth died of diabetes in 1938, so none of her grandchildren knew her. After World War II, Carlton subdivided his farm and sold it off in building lots. He gave the lots at 515 and 517 Wilson Place to his sons, and by 1949 both sons had built houses on them.
Carlton spent his last few years in a nursing home outside Frederick. He died on July 25, 1961.
A major league umpire from 1915 to 1932, Richard Nallin was a respected friend of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. In the days when umpires were faced with a different style of baseball, Nallin was ranked among baseball’s greatest “take charge” umps. He is the only Frederick Countian to ever officiate in the major leagues.
A starting lineman on Jim Tatum’s University of Maryland 1953 National Championship team, Richard Shipley was elected to the Blue-Gray Game and recruited by the pros. An outstanding area semi-pro coach, he was considered the best of his day.
An All-American college soccer player voted the best all-around athlete in Frostburg College history, Roy Sigler became a college soccer coach, producing several All-Americans, and later head basketball coach at Boston University. He was an inspiration to players and coaches alike.
A high school All-American, leading Walkersville High School to the state basketball championship, captain of Cincinnati University’s nationally ranked team, and drafted by the Boston Celtics, Gordon Smith will always be remembered as the greatest all-around athlete in WHS history.
William “Bill” Talley was a talented football and basketball athlete and later the complete coach: a fundamentalist and innovator of offensive and defensive strategies that produced state championship teams during his 25 years of service at Walkersville High School. He quickly gained the respect of coaches, players, the press, and area fans because of his concern for ethics and sportsmanship in all levels of competition. As Frederick City’s recreation director, he kept its facilities and programs among the best in the state.
An outstanding athlete while a cadet at the United States Military Academy, Glenn Wilhide was one of only three men in the history of the “Point” to captain both the football and baseball teams in the same year. His prowess will long be remembered by cadets and middies alike.