DOBSON — The Surry County Sports Hall of Fame committee has released the names of this year’s class, and multi-sport star Robert Edward “Doc” Wall is the first inductee to be featured in The News this week.
Six people will join the Hall of Fame on Saturday, with two teams joining the Ring of Honor for their championship seasons.
The ceremony begins with the unveiling of the new names on the Hall of Fame monument in Fisher River Park at 3 p.m. Saturday. Then the group moves to the gym at Surry Community College for the induction at 4 p.m.
The News will cover each of the inductees and kicks off the coverage with Doc Wall, known throughout the 1940s and 50s for his skill on the diamond, then later as a local golf pro for two decades.
Doc played shortstop at Mount Airy High School, lettering for three years: 1946-48.
At the same time, he was playing softball and bowling on the side.
In 1947, he bowled on the Reeves Community Center team that won the local duckpin championship and beat a top team from Winston-Salem.
Duckpin bowling uses pins that are shorter and lighter than the typical 10-pin alleys, and the ball is slightly larger than a softball with no finger holes.
After high school, he joined the Mount Airy Knitters, a local semi-pro team, and later joined the Mount Airy Graniteers, a Class D team, as third baseman.
In 1950, Doc tore up the league with a batting average of .343. At one point during the season, he led the league with a whopping .417 average.
In 1952, he won a spot on the Northwestern Softball Tournament in 1952.
With the Korean War underway, Doc joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C.
In his spare time, he played baseball for a team that won the base championship. Doc received the MVP trophy for the season.
He also became more interested in bowling during his years of service. After he returned home, Doc was one of the top bowlers in the state with the N.C. Duck Pin Association.
He also returned to playing in an adult softball league. In 1955 and 1956, he again earned spots on the Northwestern Softball Tournament team. In 1956, he also was named to the all-state softball team.
In 1957, Doc helped organize a local YMCA Little League baseball group with more than 550 kids turning out to join.
Also in 1957, he was a member of the RCC bowling team that won the Interstate Duckpin Bowling Tournament, beating out 14 other teams.
In 1958, he was named MVP of the Northwest Softball Tournament. Over that winter, he was listed in the top 25 of North Carolina bowlers (#23) with a scoring average of 115.46 for 196 games, according to information gathered by sister Shirley Wall Tillotson.
In 1959, Doc was elected to the all-star team for the Piedmont Softball League.
Before retiring from softball, Doc played for the Mount Airy Moose Lodge, Williamson’s Esso, Ideal Supermarket and City Beverage of Winston-Salem.
In his softball career, he pitched more than 100 no-hitters with more than 300 wins and only 60 losses.
In addition to his great pitching, he was a clutch hitter who drove in the winning run many times.
When he retired from softball in 1961 at the age of 30, Doc went to Chicago to take a class in bowling management.
With a new 10-pin bowling alley opening, Doc was hired as manager of Mount Airy Lanes. He established bowling leagues for men, women and children.
In 1963, he was certified as a bowling coach by the American Bowling Congress. Then two years later he was certified as a bowling instructor.
Also in 1963, Doc took first place in the annual White Pines Golf Tournament.
Doc moved to Florida and became the golf pro at Plant City Country Club. After eight and a half years there, he moved back to Mount Airy and was chosen for golf pro at Mount Airy Country Club in 1976.
While at MACC, he established tournaments for men and women and taught many young people the game.
He also returned to helping kids learn to bowl. In 1986, he received a certificate of appreciation from MAHS for teaching students the game.
After 20 years with MACC, Doc retired as golf pro.
In 2005, Doc was inducted into the Mount Airy Sports Hall of Fame as part of the Mount Airy Graniteers Baseball Team.
In 2007, he was again inducted into the city Hall of Fame, but this time for his individual accomplishments.
The following year, Doc passed away after a long battle with cancer. Gravesite services at Oakdale Cemetery were conducted by VFW Memorial Honor Guard Mount Airy Post 2019 and Pilot Mountain Post 6436.