Dedicated – Montevallo field named for former baseball player

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

On Saturday afternoon, as balloons were released into the April sky, the No. 9 reflected in the sun off the sleeve of every coach and player while the number one ballfield at Stephens Park in Montevallo was named for the late Steven Spears.

Spears, who had grown up playing ball as a youngster in Montevallo and later as college player for the university, was tragically slain last December.

Two men allegedly followed Steven and his wife, Monica, in their car from Montevallo, shot and killed Steven and beat Monica with a chain.

A Bibb County grand jury later indicted two-men in connection with the slaying.

With a host of relatives on hand last week, plaques dedicating the 2005 season in honor of Steven were presented to his mother and father, Donnie and &uot;Big Steve&uot; Spears, and his wife, Monica Spears.

A baseball was also presented to brothers, Chris and Daryl, niece, Chloe, and nephews, Austin and Connor Spears.

A sign naming the field for Spears was unveiled as County Commissioner Jon Parker addressed the family. Steven’s his last softball team, Charlie’s Lumber Company, also released balloons high into the air.

In addition, except for the use of Steven nephews and niece, the No. 9 has been retired for the entire baseball season.

A parent of one of the ballplayers on the field that morning, David Pritchett, read the following in honor of Spears:

&uot;As most all of you know, on Dec. 10, 2004, Montevallo lost not only one of the best short-stops to play the game, but also a wonderful son, husband, brother, uncle and friend of the community to a senseless act of violence.

&uot;He loved the game of baseball not only as a player, but as a coach. Steve was a star on the field and in our hearts. He was someone that when he came around, he always had a big smile and warm hug and could make anyone feel better about their day.

&uot;His family has always been a big part of youth baseball. The legacy started with Steve and was passed down to his brothers Chris and Daryl and continues through his nephews, Austin and Connor, and his niece, Chloe, today.

&uot;Steve was coached in baseball and in life by his parents, Donnie Sue and Big Steve. Steve’s biggest fan was his beautiful wife, Monica, who supported him through his college baseball days and his many years of endless days and night of softball games. We all know that somewhere in heaven there is a baseball game being played 24-7, and Steve is there playing shortstop on God’s team and he is the star.

&uot;We are dedicating this season to Steve in several ways. We are retiring his No. 9 shirts for the season, with the exception of his niece and nephews, and all players and coaches will wear a No. 9 patch on their shirt in honor of his memory.&uot;

A resolution by the city council was also read which said Spears &uot;devoted many years to furthering athletics in our community, both as a baseball players and coach.&uot;

His mother, Donnie, said of the festivities in honor of her son, &uot;Oh, I think it was just a beautiful tribute to Steven not only because he loved the game of baseball, but more importantly, he loved the relationships and bonds that were built over time that will last a lifetime and beyond.&uot;

Dianna Baugh introduced the guests on hand. And she and her husband, Charles Baugh, president of Dizzy Dean baseball in Montevallo were among those who arranged for the ballfield dedication.

Also involved were Carla Irwin, Parker and Spears’ uncle Mitchell Spears, who helped arrange for the new park sign naming the field