LMCH dedicates ‘Buddy’ Davis ball field

Hall of Famers George Stone (left) and Wilbert Ellis (right) join the crowd in dedicating the Buddy Davis Memorial Ballfield. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright


It was built, and he was there – his unmistakable energy could be felt by all.

The Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home officially dedicated the “O.K. ‘Buddy’ Memorial Ballfield on the LMCH campus Friday, and the Lincoln Parish’s spirit could be felt all around.

And O.K. “Buddy” Davis’ “Field of Dreams’ ‘ is just another way the legendary Ruston sportswriter will live on for perpetuity.after  his estate’s donation that helped the LMCH renovate and name its ballfield in his honor.

Davis, who was a shining light on Lincoln Parish athletics for more than 50 year as one of the top sportswriters in the south-central United States, was honored Friday morning for the donation.

George Stone, a former Ruston High School and Louisiana Tech pitcher who went on to play for the 1969 MLB champion “Miracle Mets,” was on hand to honor his lifelong friend.

“What an honor when I look at all the people in this community,” Stone said. “We are blessed to have so many people like this in this community and even this state. I think the world of all of you. Buddy and I go back a long way. Back to seventh grade, going to junior high and high school. Where what you know as the (Ruston) Civic Center used to be the junior high. And it was the high school before – the original Ruston High School.

“Buddy and I went to school all those years, and he was a great friend all that time. We were pals all that time and we had the same girlfriend or two maybe a time or two. He was alway gracious, humble, and always had a smile on his face. He was always happy to be alive.”

Stone remembered that Davis began his sportswriting career at the local paper.

“I think I was a sophomore in high school, and he was still in high school,” Stone said. “And he wrote about me all through high school. We went to (Louisiana) Tech together for four years. He wrote about me then and of course all during the pros he wrote about me and came to a number of games. 

“It was always a joy to be around him,” Stone said. “I visited him a lot (after Davis’ stroke) at Princeton Place and we talked about old times and just had a good time together.”

Missy Spicer, director of recreation for the LMCH, talked of what the ballfield named in Davis’ honor means.

“Build it and they will come,” Spicer said. “That’s a famous line from the movie “‘Field of Dreams.” There’s a quote that’s stuck in my head that’s been in my mind, but it’s not quite the same because we already had a field here.But it was so bad that after it rained, right field became foul territory.

“But someone would always hit or kick a ball over there and we’d have to wade to get the ball back. Or kids might get distracted digging for crawfish instead of playing the game. It was a field unmowable even a week after a rainstorm. The mower would get stuck, but the kids would get a kick out of that, too.”

But “Buddy” provided for it, and “they will come.”

“I tell my staff all the time we don’t want our kids to be the ones in the bleachers because they don’t know how to do something,” Spicer said. “It takes resources for youth and families to have opportunities. We are certainly excited that Mr. ‘Buddy Davis’ chose us to pay for renovations for our very own ‘Field of Dreams’ for our youth.”

College Hall of Fame baseball coach Wilbert Ellis was a longtime friend of Davis’ and said he was proud to see the legacy his ‘brother’ has left.

“Buddy was family to me,” Ellis said. “He was family to many. That’s who Buddy was. He’s  proud looking down at what happened today. I’m proud for him. Buddy cared about  everybody regardless of color, religion, politics or anything else.

“Buddy cared about people. And that’s what created this ‘Field of Dreams.’ “