Appalachian League elects six to Hall of Fame

Cepeda, Mauer and Rollins highlight class of new inductees

July 1st, 2021

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Appalachian League announced six new members to the Appalachian League Hall of Fame. The 2021 Hall of Fame class is highlighted by Orlando Cepeda, Joe Mauer and Jimmy Rollins, and they are joined by Dotty Cox, Mahlon Luttrell and Ron Necciai.

"It is truly an honor to announce our 2021 class for the Appalachian League Hall of Fame,” said Appalachian League president Dan Moushon. “These individuals are being recognized for their invaluable contributions to the development and success of the Appalachian League.” 

"I am so humbled and honored to join such a legacy of individuals that have given so much to the continued success of baseball in the historic Appalachian League," said Luttrell. "It was just unbelievable when I found out I would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I want to thank everyone that I have worked with over my career; we have truly been an extended family for many years. I also especially want to thank my family for supporting me and allowing me to do what I love for all my life."

Orlando Cepeda: Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1999, Orlando Cepeda played for Salem in the Appalachian League in 1955. He followed his time in the Appy League with 17 seasons in the Major Leagues, where he hit 379 home runs, held a career .297 batting average, was an 11-time All-Star, won NL Rookie of the Year (1958) and was named the NL MVP in 1967. During his career, he led the National League in doubles in 1958 (38), home runs in 1961 (46) and twice led the NL in RBI (142 in 1961; 111 in 1967).

Dotty Cox: Dotty Cox joined the Board of Bristol Baseball, Inc., as a volunteer in 1984 and served as the team treasurer for 30 years. During this time, Dotty was a fixture at the ballpark. She and her husband, Boyce, volunteered their time handling all promotions, programs, merchandise, tickets, player housing, travel, meal allowance and community involvement. Due to her contributions to the team, the souvenir stand at Boyce Cox Field is named in her honor.

Mahlon Luttrell: Mahlon Luttrell is in his 18th year as President of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Bristol Baseball, Inc., and has served as the General Manager of the Bristol club since 2007. Over the past two years, the Bristol Club generated more than $940,000 in gift-in-kind charitable contributions under his volunteer leadership. He was instrumental in keeping organized baseball in Bristol, having met with elected officials in Washington, D.C. on multiple occasions to promote baseball in the Appalachian League. A member of the Tennessee Army National Guard for nearly eight years, he was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant, having served as a Tank Commander and Squad Leader. He was elected to the Bristol, Tenn., City Council in 2019 and was elected to serve as Mayor in July of 2020.

Joe Mauer: Joe Mauer began his professional career in 2001 with Elizabethton, where he hit .400 in 32 games. He followed with 15 seasons with the Minnesota Twins where he finished his career with a .306 batting average. He was a six-time MLB All-Star, earned Silver Slugger honors five times, won three Gold Gloves, is the only catcher to win three batting titles, and was the second catcher to win the AL MVP in over 33 years when he received the award in 2009. On Aug. 27, 2018, Mauer set a Twins franchise record by playing his 832nd game at catcher. Minnesota later retired his uniform number, 7. He also represented Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in 2013.

Ron Necciai: On May 13, 1952, while pitching for Bristol, Ron Necciai struck out all 27 batters in a 7-0, no-hitter victory. He is the only pitcher in history to strike out all batters faced in a nine-inning professional game. In his next start, he struck out 24 batters and gave up just two hits. Necciai finished the 1952 season with 109 strikeouts in 43.0 innings for Bristol. He later became a member of the United States Air Force before receiving his medical discharge.

Jimmy Rollins: Jimmy Rollins played in Martinsville in 1996 and later spent 17 years in Major League Baseball. He was named the NL MVP in 2007 after leading the league in runs scored (139) and triples (20). Rollins won a Silver Slugger award, earned four Gold Gloves and was a three-time MLB All-Star. Additionally, he was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award in 2014 due to his community involvement and philanthropy, which he continues to this day. He established the Johari and Jimmy Rollins Center for Animal Rehabilitation in New Jersey, and he holds the annual BaseBOWL, a charity bowling tournament to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Rollins also represented Team USA twice in the World Baseball Classic. His uniform number, 11, is left out of circulation by the Philadelphia Phillies in his honor.