Chance exhibit coming to Wayne Historical Society

Chance exhibit coming to Wayne Historical Society

A few thoughts from the week in sports …

If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive way to spend a Saturday afternoon this summer or fall, the Wayne County Historical Society is the place to be.

The WCHS is hosting an extraordinary exhibit highlighting the life of this area’s greatest baseball player, which will be a crowd pleaser for people of all ages.

“Dean Chance: His Life and Legend” is a must-see exhibit, which will be open for the public on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. from July 9 through Oct. 15 at the Wayne County Historical Society, 546 E. Bowman St., Wooster.

Admission is $5 and also includes access to the rest of the WC Historical Society museum. WCHS members and children age 14 and under can get in free. All proceeds will go to support the museum and organization.

“My family and I are really excited about this special exhibit of my dad’s life and his many accomplishments,” said Brett Chance, Dean’s son. “It’s so appropriate that it be displayed here in Wayne County because though my dad traveled far and wide for baseball, boxing and the carnival business, he always considered Wayne County and the surrounding area as home.”

The late Dean Chance is most famous for winning the 1964 Cy Young Award at age 23 while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. His 1964 season stats included a 20-9 record, 1.65 ERA and 207 strikeouts. He pitched 11 shutouts, including five 1-0 wins, and even came out of the bullpen for four saves. In 50 innings against the Yankees, he gave up just one run — a homer by Mickey Mantle — for an earned run average of 0.18.

Chance, who passed away at age 74 in 2015, was a 1959 graduate of Northwestern High School. He helped lead the Huskies to Class A state titles in basketball (1958) and baseball (1959), playing for Dan Baker and Roy Bates, respectively.

The WCHS puts together temporary exhibits from time to time to attract more people to the great facility, and volunteer Vicki Slater came up with the idea to honor Chance.

“Wayne County Historical Society has added short-term pop-up exhibits to keep things fresh, and we wanted something of recent history that could have a wide appeal,” Slater said. “Dean was very successful on the pitcher’s mound, and this exhibit celebrates his accomplishments but also shows all parts of his life that people may be interested in.”

A 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher, Chance played in 11 MLB seasons for the Los Angeles Angels (1961-66), Minnesota Twins (1967-69), Cleveland Indians (1970), New York Mets (1970) and Detroit Tigers (1971).

Chance is a member of four Halls of Fame: California Angels (2015), Ohio Basketball (2014), Wayne County (1976 charter class) and Northwestern H.S.

The exhibit is not just for sports fans, but also anyone from the community who’s interested in history.

It will be the largest collection of Dean Chance memorabilia ever shown to the public, with hundreds of photos on display along with old letters, baseball and boxing mementos, items from his days growing up on the family farm and at Northwestern H.S. and much more.

Not only was Chance named Wayne County’s Co-Athlete of the 20th Century in 1999 along with the late Dick Schafrath, he also was involved in a great many activities away from baseball.

Chance was a longtime carnival showman, the founder and president of the International Boxing Association, and a gentleman farmer who raised Black Angus cattle.

The Dean Chance exhibit committee consists of Vicki and Joe Slater, Brett Chance, Tracy Chance and myself.

I’ll always be extremely grateful that I became good friends with Dean, who was as loyal as they come and always looked to help others. I hope as many people as possible can check out the exhibit, as well as the rest of the WCHS collection.

Anyone with questions or wanting information on group tours should call Vicki Slater at 330-201-1935 or email exhibits@waynehistoricalohio.org.

OHSAA football divisions announced

The OHSAA recently announced football divisions for the 2022 season.

The big news locally is West Holmes dropping from Div. III to IV. The Knights had the best season in school history in 2021, reaching the state Final Four before falling to eventual repeat champ Chardon.

The Knights (14-1 in 2021) and Hilltoppers (16-0) will both be loaded again, but West Holmes will drop away from Chardon after moving to Div. IV. Longtime state power Steubenville is one of the teams to watch in Div. IV.

Wooster (7-6), which won a pair of playoff games, remains in Div. II.

There’s a logjam of area teams in Div. V, Region 17: Norwayne (8-4), Orrville, Smithville, Triway (7-2) and Waynedale.

Div. VI includes Dalton (11-3), Chippewa, Loudonville, Northwestern and Rittman. State power Kirtland also is in Div. VI.

The lone area Div. VII team is Hillsdale (7-5).

Parting shots

Congrats to Wooster and Waynedale for winning the All-Sports trophies in their respective leagues.

The Generals were the Ohio Cardinal Conference’s top school in 2021-22 based on all-around league finishes, winning the All-Sports title for just the third time (2019-20, 2003-04 inaugural year).

Wooster scored 105 total points to beat out traditional league powers Ashland (100) and Lexington (94). The Generals won league titles in girls tennis and soccer, boys cross country, volleyball, girls and boys swimming, boys bowling, and baseball.

The Golden Bears repeated as Wayne County Athletic League All-Sports champs with 79 points to beat out Norwayne (75) and Dalton (72.5). Waynedale won league titles in golf, volleyball, girls cross country, girls basketball, wrestling and baseball. It was a busy year for Lem’s Pizza, which generously donates meals for the Bears’ WCAL winners.

—Thanks to everyone who helped make the 23rd Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Greystone Event Center a success on June 24. For more information on the inductees or how to nominate someone, visit www.waynecountysportshof.com.

Aaron Dorksen can be emailed at AaronDorksen24@gmail.com.