By John R. Schirmer
Nearly 68 years after it opened, Wilson Park in Nashville was rededicated Thursday, March 29. The audience included current and former Nashville Scrappers, former Nashville Cubs and family members, coaches, and a host of others who gathered for the event.
Wilson Park opened July 4, 1950 and was home field for the Cubs from the mid-1950s through early 1960s. Little League and other teams played there.
Today, the field is home for the defending state Class 4A Scrapper baseball team.
Superintendent Doug Graham welcomed the crowd and introduced school board members and school personnel.
“It’s events like this that make me proud to be a Scrapper,” Graham said. “I have enjoyed being a part of the progress in facilities in recent years but understand that the history and traditions of those before us make Nashville a special place. Today, our community gets to celebrate a part of Nashville history.”
The school district recently completed Phase I of a renovation program at Wilson Park, including new dugouts, a row of chairback seats, netting, new roof, paved parking lot, new entrance and new fencing. More improvements are possible this summer and fall.
Graham introduced “the Wilson family, as in Wilson Park.”
He told about the family’s patriarch, the late Forrest Wilson, and read a plaque in his honor.
“The Wilson family has continued the tradition of Forrest Wilson by being a major supporter in our community and major supporter in
our school. We thank you,” Graham said.
Members of the family who attended the rededication include grandson Kenneth Wilson and wife Tiffany, great-grandson Joey Wilson, granddaughter Elizabeth Wilson Overton and husband Walt Overton, granddaughter Loreta Wilson Watts, grandson Jimmy Wilson, grandson Fred Wilson and wife Suzanne.
“I thought the ceremony was another example of what a special place Nashville is and a town very aware of its history,” Kenneth Wilson said later.
Former Scrapper Coach Johnny Wilson read a plaque commemorating the history of Wilson Park and recognizing the work of the late Milton Masey. He introduced members of Masey’s family, including daughter Sue Masey White. Her husband Randy did much of the research on the park, according to Wilson.
The Masey family donated retro Nashville Cubs caps and jerseys for the Scrappers to wear in an exhibition game with Kirby after the ceremony.
Wilson introduced former members of the semipro Nashville Cubs team before introducing members of the 2007 and 2017 state champion Nashville Scrappers. He pointed out that many of the 2017 champs were on the field last Thursday night on the current Scrapper team.
Along with Wilson, other current and former Scrapper baseball coaches who attended include Kyle Slayton, A.J. Whitmore, D.J. Graham and Frank Puryear.
Wilson also introduced Herbert Killian, 93, who attended the opening of the park in 1950. Killian has seen hundreds of games since and worked for many years at keeping up the facility. He received a standing ovation from the crowd.
After the program, a reception was held in the new batting cage for the former Cubs and other guests.