The name John Henry Moss may not ring familiar — like Ted Williams, Tommy Lasorda or Orlando Cepeda — to baseball fans at large. But his contributions to America’s pastime are of no less significance.
For 50 years, he was president of the South Atlantic League (“Sally League”) — one of baseball’s most popular and successful ventures. Moss, a native and former longtime mayor of Kings Mountain, N.C., took the old eight-team, semi-pro Western Carolina League and expanded it into the S.A.L. with teams throughout the Southeast and well beyond.
In 2007, he gave up the long-held title of president (though named president emeritus) of the Class A professional baseball league after a half-century of providing great, affordable family entertainment.
On Thursday, Gardner-Webb University — a fine Baptist-related institution in Boiling Springs, N.C. — announced that Moss had made a gift that will enable the university to build a new home for collegiate baseball players.
With hopes of starting construction soon and having it completed sometime in 2010, Gardner-Webb players, students and the greater community will have a good place to enjoy peanuts, Cracker Jack and the greatest sport ever created.
My good friend John Bridges, director of church relations at GWU, better save me a seat for opening day at John Henry Moss Stadium. I want to be there.