A small Kansas community dedicated a baseball field to who many there refer to as ‘Mr. Baseball.’
It happened in between baseball games Saturday.
Almost every person at the field knew Harold Dean Wharton. And that’s only part of why earlier today, the community dedicated the baseball field to him. But it’s also his love of the game.
If you live in Harper and participate in or watch ball games, you know Harold Dean Wharton.
“We affectionately call him ‘Mr. Baseball’ just the stories of coaching and umpiring and the long term relationships and friendships he has around here,” said Wade Beal, President of Harper Recreation Commission.
“Good ball player, good friend, good teammate,” said Richard Olivier, Danville.
Or have learned a thing or two about the sport and life from him.
“He taught me everything about it, he taught me how to catch how to bat, everything,” said Carson Wharton, Grandson.
“Put so much time and effort into helping kids in the area love baseball and not just baseball but learn life lessons,” said Mary Hatley, Daughter.
And if you ask the man himself, he’ll admit he spends a lot of time here.
“About every night they’re playing I’m sitting around here somewhere,” said Harold Dean Wharton, Harper
But baseball never gets old for Wharton.
“You’ve seen a lot of baseball games I’m sure…oh yeah,” said Wharton.
This dedication to the game as an athlete, coach, umpire, and fan is why members of the community decided ‘Wharton’ was a good name for the newly renovated field.
Wharton says he and his family are honored by the dedication and now have an even greater reason to return to this special place.
“Every time I come here, I’m going to see that sign over there that says Wharton Field, and I’ll think of him every time I see it,” said Carson.
Wharton says he was 10 years old when he started to take part in the sport and today he is 71.
He threw the first pitch here after the dedication, and he’s still got it.