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Suns give nod to local bobblehead promotion

August 18, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

karenh@heraldmail.com

Until now, fans of the North Hagerstown High School football team would have had more luck finding a Babe Ruth baseball card than getting their hands on their own 12th-man collectible.

The Hagerstown Suns, in conjuction with Washington County Public Schools, will hold a series of promotions over the next several weeks, including giveaways of bobbleheads bearing likenesses of men well-known to fans of the Hubs and crosstown South Hagerstown Rebels.

The events begin Sunday with the Suns' first Salute to Education Day to celebrate the school system's 140th anniversary.

According to Suns General Manager Kurt Landes, Washington County Public School employees and their families will be admitted at half price to Sunday's game, which starts at 5:35 p.m. A pregame ceremony, featuring remarks by Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and Board of Education members, will begin about 5:10 p.m.

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Bobbleheads of South High baseball, wrestling and football coach Ralph Stottlemyer and North High's "Hubcap" - a 50-year-old Halfway resident who attends every football game in red-and-white face paint - will be given away at Suns games in September.

Hubcap, whose real name is Craig Gilbert, attended the press conference in his signature superfan uniform and drew laughs from an audience of school officials with his first words:

"Hello, I'm Hubcap."

His red-and-white face paint and socks made that clear. So did the late-model Plymouth Belvedere hubcap dangling from his neck.

The Suns will distribute 1,000 Hubcap bobbleheads before their Sept. 3 game against the Lexington Legends. The following night, the Suns will distribute 1,000 bobbleheads of Stottlemyer.

The team has given North High and South High each 1,000 tickets to sell for the games and, as part of a fundraiser, the schools will be allowed to keep $3 from every ticket they sell, Landes said Wednesday.

The money raised by North High will go into the fund to build Mike Callas Stadium, while South High will raise money for its Athletic Boosters Club, Landes said.

According to information provided by Landes and school officials, fans at Sunday's game will have the opportunity to sign a ceremonial banner showing their support of public education. School employees and their families will have the chance to win prizes and take part in between-inning promotions.

Stottlemyer, a 1963 South High graduate, pointed to his temple before bouncing his head back and forth in his best imitation of a bobblehead.

"All the years I have been with the board, I don't think there is anything else I could have done and enjoyed so much, coaching and teaching in Washington County," Stottlemyer said.

Principal Richard Akers said Stottlemyer, a diminutive man in a South High green shirt and khaki shorts, was chosen for the honor because of his longtime connection with the school.

"It has nothing to do with the fact they were able to do a life-size figurine," Akers said.

Hubcap, who has helped led the cheers for the Hubs at every football game the past three years, said he was honored by the attention.

"It's kind of emotional in a way. I mean, I feel like one of those big stars and everything," Hubcap said.

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