James T. Hargrove, a well-known baseball scholar and book writer, threw out the first pitch in the Lakewood Leopards’ baseball game against the Spring Creek Gators on Thursday, a game which the Leopards won 14-6.
It was his first time throwing out the first pitch in Roseboro.
Hargrove is a renowned baseball enthusiast who has met many baseball players and was more than happy to throw out the first pitch in the game, adding to his already extensive list of games where he has been the ceremonial first pitch thrower, including at such schools as Clinton High School as well as J.P. Riddle Stadium where the Fayetteville Swamp Dogs play. He threw the ceremonial first pitch at J.P. Riddle Stadium on July 21, 2007, as well as on July 12, 2003, and has made his rounds as far as baseball goes.
He was born on Nov. 14, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pa., and graduated from Charles E. Perry High School in the class of 1968. He has had a love for the sport of baseball since a young age and attended his first Major League Baseball game at age 15, seeing the Baltimore Orioles face off against the New York Yankees in Baltimore, a game in which the Orioles won, 9-8.
His love for baseball only grew since then.
His enthusiasm for the sport helped him become an umpire in the Southeastern Athletics Association from 1975-1987 in Fayetteville, N.C., and in 2006 he introduced the Major League Baseball umpires. These accomplishments helped him meet such baseball stars as Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Enos Slaughter, Buck Leonard, Gaylord Perry, Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray, just to name a few.
He and his wife most recently attended a Major League Baseball game that was played at Fort Bragg, N.C. last July when the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins squared off, with the Marlins defeating the Braves 5-2. He has also self-published his own baseball trivia book in 2002, titled “Jimmie’s Favorite Trivia.”
“Thanks so much for allowing me to be on the mound this day, March 9, 2017,” Hargrove said to the Lakewood High School organization.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]