Earlier this spring, the Clear Creek Township Advisory Board, along with members of the Huntington County community, gathered together at the Clear Creek Park to rename the baseball field facility.
The facility, which was renamed Hammel Field, earned its name from former Clear Creek Township Trustee and Assessor Don Hammel, along with his son, the current Trustee, Jay Hammel.
Jay has been the town trustee since 1976, following in his father’s footsteps for 46 years and counting. According to the speech given during the ceremony by Jay’s son-in-law, Shawn Harkness, Jay had a vision for adding a baseball field to the growing township in 1974. At that time, President Richard Nixon was giving incentives around the U.S. to local governments to use federal funds for something “new” that would benefit local communities.
Seeing as these funds would be lost if not used for something new, Jay approached D.L. and Hazel Pence, local farmers and landowner, if Clear Creek Township could buy a piece of land on the corner of 900 North and 300 West, for the ball park. Instead of selling the land to Clear Creek Township, the landowners offered it free of charge since it was “going for such a great cause.”
Harkness went on to explain during his speech that Jay approached Gib Callee, a local developer and excavator, to prepare the land for the baseball field.
Again, Jay was met with someone offering to do the work for free. Finally, Jay was able to use some of the federal funding to purchase the fencing for the field.
“As I discovered the history behind the building of this baseball field, I found it amazing to think about how the vision of one man, and his dad, and the drive to accomplish something of this magnitude could benefit so many people for so many years,” Harkness said.
“When you think about the numerous players on the many teams that have used this field over the past four and a half decades, you begin to realize that the work of one or two men led to thousands of young boys and girls using this field to play the game that they love so much.”
Harkness then thanked those responsible for the success of the field coming together, as well as Clear Creek Township Advisory Board members Roger Warner, Eldon Bruner and Dick Michael for their efforts. After the facility had officially been renamed to Hammel Field at Clear Creek Park, Jay was given the honor of throwing out the first pitch, just as his father had done in June of 1974.