Fred Gregg Jr. Award to Rick Honeycutt

Chattanooga Hall of Fame - Mon. March 3

Thursday, February 20, 2014

From Dixie Youth Baseball to the Major Leagues, north Georgia native Rick Honeycutt has been a winner on the diamond.

Honeycutt led Fort Oglethorpe Dixie Youth to a state championship in 1966 and he won a DYB World Series game that summer a few years before leading Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School to back-to-back state titles (1971-72).

He went on the be an All-American at Tennessee and was a member of the world champion Oakland As in 1989.

For his baseball career accomplishments, the current pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers is the selection of the Fred Gregg Jr. Award.

The Gregg Award is the most prestigious honor given by the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame. Honeycutt will be honored March 3 at the 48th annual Hall of Fame banquet. Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased by calling John Farr at 423-875-9282.

The deadline for ticket orders is Feb.20.

Among the previous winners are Benda Lawson, Allan Jones, Frank Berke, Zan Guerry, Dr. Paul Apyan, Betty Probasco, E.B. “Red” Etter, Jack Lupton, Gordon Davenport, Jim Frost, and Luke Worsham. The award is given to an individual who has made major contributions to sports.

Previously announced 2014 honorees are Lifetime Achievement winners Warren Barger and Carolyn Jackson, Athletes of the Year Ashlen Dewart and Wes Cash and Andy Morgan and Morgan/Morris choice Joe Smith.

Hall of Fame honorees include Robert Long and the late Larry Knight (baseball), Mack McCarthy and Hugh Walker (basketball), Andy Kelly (football), Mark Guhne (golf), Tommy Layne (administrator), Ralph and Karen Weekly and Norman Hofferman (softball) and Tracy Bleil (special category).

Also, Mark Wiedmer (sports media), Ellen Kovacevich Hanna and Trei Wild (swimming/diving), Stewart Lawwill and Gary McIntyre (tennis), Kathy Ryals (track and field) and Danny Gilbert and Reggie Gaddis (wrestling).

Honeycutt is in his ninth year as pitching coach for the Dodgers and during that time period, no Major League team has a better ERA (3.71), opponent batting average (.248) and strikeouts per game (9.836).

During his 21 years as a pitcher in the Majors, Honeycutt made the All-Star team twice and won a World Championship with the Oakland A’s in 1989.

The former Tennessee Vol was a two-time All-SEC pick and an All-American his senior year. Ironically, he was picked as a first baseman after leading the SEC in hitting.

As a Major Leaguer, he won 109 games and had 38 saves, but during the latter years he was a setup man whose forte was setting down left-handed hitters. Lefties hit less than .200 lifetime against him. He pitched in 30 post-season games and never lost, finishing 3-0.

Honeycutt has been the namesake for a celebrity golf tournament for the past 30 years. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for north Georgia sports and used funds from the event to hire workers for his Heartland Ranch program.

Former Fort Oglethorpe mayor and hospital administrator Leonard Fant and former Lakeview baseball coach, the late Jack Archer, ran the gold event.

“We made money in the tournament every year,” Fant said. “We estimated this past year that we had raised $600,000-$700,000. Rick has been a tremendous citizen of our area.”

The Heartland Ranch, which is administered by Honeycutt’s wife Debbie, is a 100-acre facility with 42 stalls. The arena has become a retreat for special needs kids, especially for those suffering from autism.



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