RIGHT FIELD CORNER - OTIS GILBREATH FIELD - LINDALE, GA
During the 2021 Dragons Baseball season, 'Legends Corner' became the new designated title of the right field corner at Otis Gilbreath Field. It is here, the baseball greats of Pepperell High School will have their numbers visibly recognized to honor their contributions of the past, and to inspire Dragons of the future.
Bill BevelsClass of 1958
Wilburn Kenneth Bevels, known professionally as Bill Bevels, was a 1958 graduate of Pepperell High School. At catcher, he was an instrumental part of the baseball program, helping lead the Dragons to three consecutive region titles and two state championships. After high school, Mr. Bevels was offered and accepted a professional contract from the Dodgers. Across 4 years in their minor league system, he drove in 206 runs, with 41 doubles, 6 triples, and 25 home runs. He had a career professional batting average of .255. One of his greatest memories was getting to catch Sandy Koufax. After baseball, He returned home, to Lindale, with his wife Nancy, working in the Pepperell Mill and raising their son, Ken. This past December, Mr. Bill Bevels passed away at the age of 80. After extensive research and many interviews, we could not find anyone, or anything, to verify the number worn by Mr. Bevels during his time as a Dragon. It was said by one interviewee that Coach Gilbreath just gave out uniforms and you wore what you got. Without a known jersey number we thought it would be best, and appropriate, to honor Bill Bevels with the #1 as the first ever member of Legends Corner at Otis Gilbreath Field. (Recognized in honor of Mr. Bill Bevels was his son, Ken, and his nephew, Robert).
Tom HickmanClass of 2006
Tom is a 2006 graduate of Pepperell High School, playing baseball with his Lindale boys since before he can remember. He made an immediate impact on the baseball program the moment he stepped into the halls. As a Freshman, he hit .446, with 9 doubles and 17 RBIs. His biggest presence was on the mound as he carried a 4-0 record, with 75 strikeouts and a 1.81 ERA. His sophomore year was even more productive, with 7 wins, 89 strikeouts, and a 2.15 ERA. At the plate he drove in 20 RBIs with a clean .400 average. His junior year brought about some adversity though. After two straight no-hitters against Armuchee and Adairsville, he began having arm troubles. Luckily for Tom and the Dragons, he could still hit. That season, he drove in 40 RBIs and connected for 9 homeruns. He finished the season with 5 wins and 67 strikeouts from the hill. Tom was named the Rome News Tribune Co-player of the Year. As the interest level for Tom grew outside of Lindale, so did his ability to hit the baseball. With scouts in the stands for most of his senior year, Tom put on a show, batting .521 with 53 RBIs, 8 doubles, and 12 homeruns. Tom was named the Rome News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year for the second season in a row and also became a High School All-American. In the 2006 Major League Draft, the Florida Marlins chose Tom in the 2nd Round, 63rd overall. He spent the next 5 seasons in the minor leagues before retiring from the game. His career professional baseball stats include, 261 hits, 39 homeruns, 8 triples, 65 doubles, and 173 RBIs. After baseball, Tom returned to the northwest Georgia area, to attend Georgia Highlands. He later transferred to the University of Georgia and graduated from the Terry College of Business with a degree in business management. Today Tom has a career in the medical field, working in Urology device sales for the Olympus Company. Tom and his family still reside in the Athens area. When asked to look back at his days on the diamond at Pepperell High School, Tom stated, “If anyone is ever asked, what they remember most about me, and baseball . . . I would hope above all else, they would say . . that dude was a good teammate." When asked about Tom, his high school coaches were right on cue. His head coach Mike Moore said, “Tom was the kind of kid that made everybody else around him better. Whatever the team needed, he was going to do. He was a great kid, with a lot of talent, but he was extremely humble." His assistant Coach, Wright Edge said, “Everybody knew Tom was special, had talent like no other. Scouts would come to the games, stay and watch him hit BP afterwards. All the while, he was so humble and his personality never changed. That was the funnest part for me was knowing that he would come out every day and act like it was another day at the field. He was a great teammate.”