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Jack Russell Spring, a left hander who pitched in the same bullpen as Satchel Paige and against Mickey Mantle before returning home and coaching West Valley to the Spokane area’s only state high school baseball championship in 1978, died on Sunday. He was 82.
The photo popped up in my inbox Monday afternoon. It’s a cellphone photo of workers putting the finishing touches on the new scoreboard for the baseball field at West Valley High School. Across the top, the scoreboard reads “Jack Spring Stadium.” Underneath are the words “Home of the Eagles.”
West Valley High School recently honored Jack Spring by naming their baseball field after him in honor of his 14 seasons as head baseball coach at the school, along with his service as its longtime athletic director.
Jack Spring’s eyes were alight and a smile crossed his face. “It’s hard to believe that I would be remembered this way since I retired from West Valley 20 years ago,” he wrote and his son, Chris Spring, relayed to a crowd at the West Valley baseball field. “I always love surprises.”
Good ideas come and go all the time, every day. Great ideas, though, make you get up off the stool and do something about them. “Like all great ideas, this one started at Jack and Dan’s Tavern,” West Valley grad Bob Finn said. “A group of us were sitting around, having a beer, and we started talking about the West Valley baseball field and we wondered what it would take to get it renamed for Jack Spring.”
Baseball is so enamored with its dense history that even the footnotes are occasionally cast in large type. Which is how it happened that Jack Spring was on the mound at Fenway Park again last weekend.
Baseball is so enamored with its dense history that even the footnotes are occasionally cast in large type.