Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Tom Southard
The Observer 

Hall Of Famer

Dale Hendrickson To Be Inducted In Nebraska Baseball Hall

 

November 14, 2019

Dale Hendrickson Collection / For The Observer

Kimball's Dale Hendrickson, pictured in his Milwaukee Braves uniform, will be inducted Feb. 9 in the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame at Beatrice. We will provide you readers with more ticket information in a release closer to that date.

Dale Hendrickson, a name well known by all of our area sports enthusiasts, is headed into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame!

This same energetic individual who has done so much, not only for the sport of baseball but for all of the sports enjoyed by Kimball High athletes and their fans, received word back in September from those in charge that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Feb. 9, 2020, in a ceremony at the Country Kitchen Restaurant and Event Center in Beatrice, the same site that houses the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame. Dale is one of seven who will be honored on this date, and anyone interested in attending can apply for tickets after Jan. 1.

I could write many pages on the baseball days of Dale, and will give you readers more as we draw closer to the date of his induction, but will touch on some of his exploits that brought about this tremendous honor.

In the first notifications sent my way from Larry Bornschlegl, secretary of the Hall of Fame Board, this is his writing on Dale: "Dale Hendrickson of Kimball pitched his team (Gering) to the Class B State Legion Championship at age 16, and then spent the summer months chucking for the Chadron Elks Town Team. His wicked curve was noticed by a scout and he was quickly signed and sent to Oklahoma State Professional League. He did OK in OK pitching 39 scoreless innings and went 79 innings without yielding an earned run!"

"In a spring game in 1957 during spring training, he faced the defending World Champion Yankees. He ave up 4 hits and 1 run in 5 innings, and fanned Mantle, Berra, Showron, Kubek, and McDougal. (Casey Stengel would say, You can look it up!) He went on to have legendary coaching careers at Morrill and Kimball, and the Kimball Legion Baseball Field bears his name."

Adding to what Mr. Bornschlegl wrote in his brief notes on Dale, he was an all around outstanding athlete who played his freshman-sophomore years of high school at Broadwater and then moved to Gering, where he finished his last two years of high school, graduating in 1954. He lettered in football, basketball and track all four years. In the summer of 1953 he pitched the Gering American Legion Baseball Team to the Class B State Championship!

Dale had plans to attend Chadron State College and play both basketball and baseball for the Eagles, but during a tryout camp in Rushville he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves in June of 1954 at age 17 – and he is the only player in the nine years the camp at Rushville operated to sign a professional contract.

After signing with the Braves, Dale was no longer eligible to play college baseball, but did go on to star in basketball and wrote his name into the record books despite never being able to finish a complete season due to having to leave early for his baseball camps.

Dale graduated from Chadron State in 1960 and taught and coached at Morrill for 9 years and then spent 24 years as a teacher/coach/athletic director for Kimball High, retiring in 1996. I might mention that Dale brought outstanding baseball to Kimball as the Legion coach for several years and had multiple state qualifying teams.

His list of awards goes on and on, including his induction into the Chadron State College Athletic Hall of Fame. Now at the young age of 83 he will be honored once again with his induction into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame.

Well deserved, and congratulations to not only an Outstanding Baseball Man, but simply to an All Around Outstanding Man!

 

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