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Fame isn't fleeting for county hall inductees

July 18, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN
  • From left to right, Doug Mills, Steven Tyler Jr., Jim Adenhart, Ted Schoeck and David Wachter are pictured at Saturday's Washington County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Hagerstown Elks Lodge No. 378. Tyler Jr. accepted on behalf of Thomas Cross, and Jim Adenhart accepted on behalf of son Nick Adenhart. Inductee Terry Brown is not pictured.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

By DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Doug Mills discovered a form of auto racing while he was serving in the U.S. Army stationed in France. It became a major part of his life for the next 30-plus years.

"It was LeMans," said Mills, a Clear Spring High School graduate, of the popular 24-hour sports car endurance race. "I was fascinated that drivers and machines could last that long under such grueling conditions."

Although he never participated in the 24 Hours of LeMans, Mills went on to win 35 races -- including two Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona titles in 2000 and 2001 -- and three Sports Club Car of America championships.

"It's considered the most grueling event in the world," Mills said. "I made seven attempts at it, won there twice, and once had the honor of having the first car to break down after one lap. ... I had the honor of racing Paul Newman many times, and racing the Earnhardts a few times. The highlight of my career was when (Dale) Earnhardt Sr. congratulated me at the podium after winning in 2001. That was quite an honor."

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Mills was one of seven athletes honored Saturday as the newest inductees of the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge No. 378.

"This is probably the highest honor in racing, because I'm being awarded it by the community I grew up in, so I'm very honored," Mills said.

Terry Brown was also was inducted on Saturday for his baseball accomplishments. Brown helped Hagerstown Colt League finish fourth in the 1970 World Series before helping it win the 1971 championship. He had a 3-0 record as a pitcher in the two events.

"It was scary, especially the final game against Hawaii," Brown said. "They beat us 1-0 the night before, so it was do or die. When our guys scored seven or eight runs in the first two innings, it lessened the stress, but as Yogi Berra said, 'It's not over 'til it's over.'"

Brown posted a 21-0 pitching record at National Little League to help lead his team to two league championships from 1964 to 1967. He struck out 20 in a seven-inning game at Hagerstown PONY League in 1968 and set a league record with a 12-0 mark and 221 strikeouts in 1969. In three seasons on the South Hagerstown High School varsity team, he posted batting averages of .407, .409 and .383 for a .398 career average.

Brown earned a scholarship to Murray State, where he hit .380 as a freshman and finished his college career with a .329 average and 6-1 pitching record. He later coached at South Mountain, Hagerstown PONY and Hagerstown Colt leagues.

"On a night in the same ceremony as someone like Nick Adenhart makes it even more significant," Brown said of his induction. "It's a wonderful way to come to a close for my athletic career."

Mills and Brown were joined in the 2010 class by:

n Nick Adenhart, Baseball: Adenhart was a star from his earliest days at Halfway Little League. As a 13-year-old, he was clocked at 86 mph and helped lead the Hagerstown All-Stars to the PONY World Series.

He threw two no-hitters in his junior season at Williamsport High School. The Wildcats' games became major events in his senior year, as scouts with radar guns lined up behind the backstop to clock his pitches. It was widely speculated that he would be one of the top 10 players selected in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft.

Adenhart tore an elbow ligament in his pitching arm during his final regular-season start. Adenhart's draft stock dropped when he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair it, but the Los Angeles Angels still selected him in the 14th round.

Adenhart made his Major League debut on May 1, 2008 and made the Angels' opening-day roster in 2009. Just hours after making his first start of the 2009 season, Adenhart and two other passengers were killed in a car accident.

n Thomas Cross, Basketball: Born in 1936, Cross attended segregated schools in Hagerstown. After learning basketball fundamentals at North Street School and the YMCA, Cross became a tuition student at Waynesboro High School, where he played three years and set three scoring records in the South Penn Conference. He earned conference Dream Team honors in 1954.

Cross earned a full scholarship to Seton Hall University and was a varsity starter for three years. He was also selected to the Catholic Union All-American team.

He graduated with a modern languages degree and played semipro ball in the Eastern League while pursuing a teaching career. He earned his Masters from the University of Valladolid in Spain and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. He has taught English and Spanish and served as an Assistant Principal and Principal in several school districts.

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