Giles named Babe Ruth state commissioner

Friday, October 24, 2008

Roger "Jabber" Giles has served the Marshall County Babe Ruth League in many capacities over the last 34 years, starting out as many volunteers do, coaching his two sons, Heath and Robbie.

The years of hard work and Giles' dedication to youth baseball were recently rewarded when he was named Tennessee State Commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball on Oct.15 by Babe Ruth CEO Steve Tellefsen.

Giles continued coaching after his boys graduated from Babe Ruth and was eventually elected League President, staying in that capacity for eight years.

In 2000, Giles was appointed District 8 Commissioner in charge of Marshall County, Giles County, Maury County, and Lawrence County.

"This is a great honor, all of the past state commissioners have come from big cities," Giles said. "To have one come from a small town like Lewisburg is unbelievable. I guess I am being rewarded for all the hard work everyone has done here in Marshall County.

"I have to mention guys like Charles Hardison, Ed Bailey, and Roger Barnes. Without them, this league would not be around. I think Charles would be most proud of the fact that a state commissioner has been named from Lewisburg."

"I have some big shoes to fill replacing Steve Hupka, he has done a great with it for so long," added Giles.

The state commissioner's position came open when Hupka was named to the International Board of Directors of Babe Ruth Baseball.

Giles will take the formal reigns next week in Myrtle Beach at the Babe Ruth Annual Convention.

Giles talked about his plans in his new role and said, "I have a plan of what I want to do as State Commissioner and that is to get Babe Ruth baseball back on the map. My goal is to keep my pulse on all the league presidents because I believe that is the most important role in Babe Ruth baseball. They are the backbone of the league. I will meet with all of them, soon."

Giles went on to say, "I want to get those kids out of Lou Gehrig and the Dixie League and introduce them to the Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken baseball. Cal Ripken is growing in leaps and bounds all over the country and all over the state of Tennessee. It is huge in West Tennessee and East Tennessee and I want it to be big in Middle Tennessee."

What Giles' appointment means to the future of the Marshall County Little is unclear, but the MCLL did ask Giles to charter the league for Cal Ripken for much of last year's post-season All-Star action.

In conversations with many of the All-Star coaches, they all had great things to say about their experiences at Cal Ripken tournaments in the summer.

"If they (MCLL) need me again, all they have to do is call me," said Giles.

The Marshall County Little League holds their annual meeting this Sunday and moving to Cal Ripken may be on top of the agenda.

"We have the facilities to host state tournaments here in Lewisburg and the revenue would be tremendous for the town," said Giles.

Giles ended the interview by talking about some of the great teams and moments during his long tenure with the local Babe Ruth League and mentioned one team that stood out in his mind.

Giles smiled and said, "I remember the team my son Heath was on when they won the 15-year old title. His age group won six state titles. They won two 13-15 year old titles, two 16-18 year old titles, and then went on to win two high school state championships for coach (Joe) George at Marshall County High School."

"I remember those backbone of kids on that team. Chad McCormick, Byron Ewing, Shannon Ketchum, Derrell Thomason, Heath (Giles), Brooks May, Larry Ray Collins, and probably some more I can't remember right now. Just go over to the park and look on the wall, there are state champions all over it."