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Baseball Field Name in Honor of Charles S. "Pop" Kelchner

Albright College paid tribute to its famous sports alumnus on Saturday, June 7, when the baseball field at 15th and Bern Streets was named in honor of Charles S. "Pop" Kelchner, veteran St. Louis Cardinals baseball scout who pioneered intercollegiate athletics at Albright at the turn of the century.

Numerous dignitaries from the baseball world were on hand for the dedication ceremony at 2:30 p.m. and the testimonial dinner in the Abraham Lincoln Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Among them were Branch Rickey, general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who delivered the dedicatory address, and Connie Mack, "Mr. Baseball" himself.

The bronze plaque which names the field was originally presented by George C. Bollman, '21, president of the board of trustees and chairman of the athletic council. Kelchner's daughter, Mrs. Kathryn K. Jones, unveiled the marker.

The plaque reads: "Named in Honor of Charles S. 'Pop' Kelchner, '95. Pioneer in Athletics at Albright ... Versatile Athlete ... Athletic Coach ... Teacher of Languages ... Loyal Alumnus ... Well-Known Baseball Scout ... Nationally Acclaimed for His Good Sporstmanship and Christian LIving ... He Played Well in the Game of Life ... He Had the Will to Win. Erected by the Board of Trustees June 7, 1952."

Elmer Mohn, '02, was master of ceremonies for the dedication, Hobson C. Wagner, '22, president of the alumni association, and Harry A. (Haps) Benfer, '15, who played under Kelchner and is now dean of freshmen at Muhlenberg College, shared presiding honors at the dinner.

A bound volume of testimonial letters from alumni, outstanding personalities in the sporting world and other friends of Kelchner was presented to "Pop" at the dinner. Kelchner himself spoke in a reminiscent vein of his days at Albright.

In his afternoon dedicatory address, Rickey stressed the need for good faith in college athletics. "The idea of winning at any cost has no place in the colleges," he declared.

Paying tribute to Kelchner, Rickey said that "he had a basic honesty in his very soul. It went mysteriously deep and upon this his well-known loyalties rested. He took great pride in being physically fit; it meant a clean life. He has been intellectually  proficient.  He has been quite obviously spiritually endowed. His source of great strength has not been unknown to him and he has lived close to it."

Kelchner will be 78 in August. He lives in semi-retirement in Lebanon, Pa.

 

Source: Bulletin of Albright College, June 1952