On Nov. 21, the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center in Newcomerstown was near capacity as the Ohio All Sports Hall of Fame inducted 1968 World Champion and seven-time All-Star former Major League Baseball player Willie Horton and presented the Bob Cathan Humanitarian Award to Newcomerstown's own James "Denny" Ross.
Ohio All Sports Hall of Fame President Jim Carr served as the Master of Ceremonies. Tuscarawas County Commissioners Chris Abbuhl and Kerry Metzger, along with former Tuscarawas County Commissioner Darrell Pancher, as well as several other local dignitaries were also in attendance.
Horton shared stories of his religious but financially difficult upbringing until he signed a Major League contract with the Detroit Tigers in 1963. Horton's career spanned from 1963 until 1981. He played for the Cleveland Indians in 1978. He shared many stories of his career that the crowd certainly enjoyed.
Gates Brown, a former Major League Baseball player who still holds the "pinch hitting record" was also inducted. However, due to health reasons, he was unable to attend the banquet. His presence was missed.
Whereas, Ross left for the Army seven days after his high school graduation in May of 1965 for three years. In December of 1965, he was sent to Vietnam for a year's tour of duty. About six weeks after arriving there, he was wounded severely and received a Purple Heart. He and his wife live in Newcomerstown.
One of his greatest accomplishments was chairing a Vietnam Veteran's project in making 3,100 wooden 18-inch high crosses that were on display at the Soldier's Homecoming in Dennison in August 2009. One cross for each Ohio soldier killed in Vietnam.
Ross designed and built the Tree of Peace Monument in front of the Riverside Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and designed and help build the Freeman Davis Medal of Honor Monument beside the Temperance Tavern Museum. He also designed and had made pins and patches for the Vietnam Traveling Wall when it was in Tuscarawas County 2006 and 2009. He also helped design and build the interior of the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center in Newcomerstown.