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Stories from the Road: A Field, a Coach, a Place where Legends Played

Travels for work took me through Cincinnati, where I stopped for lunch in the neighborhood of West Price Hill. After lunch, I took about an hour to walk around the main street and snapping pics as I wondered.

Looking up the street, I saw stadium lights towering above the buildings. Curious, I made my way to see what it was.

It was the football field for Western Hills High. Nice enough field, but not much seating at all. (All of it on one side, maybe 500-600 capacity. Perhaps, in hindsight, a practice field?)

I can see the baseball diamond on the other side of the fence. Walking past the end zone I can see the fence was open, so I decided to take a look around. Nice enough field with ample seating for games.

On the back side of the building for the first base dugout, are five jerseys painted on the wall signifying the five state championships the program had won, stretching from 1948 to 1986.

On the far left is the first championship from 1948. The name of the head coach caught my eye, truthfully, more for the chuckle than anything : Paul "Pappy" Nohr. A little research into the obituary tells you that he coached at Western Hill from 1928 to 1962. But then the obituary tells you a little more about who he coached. More on that in a second.

I looked through the names on that 1948 jersey and saw the name "D. Zimmer" I think through it and wonder is that Don Zimmer, who was a major league player, coach and manager. A quick look at Wikipedia, and sure enough it is Don Zimmer, who was quite the athlete at Western Hill, earning an all-state nod as a quarterback for the school and gave a look to a young coach at Kentucky named Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Also on that 1948 jersey is J. Frey, who, as it turned out, was a future minor league player and major league manager, winning a World Series as a coach with the Baltimore Orioles in 1970, and winning manager of the year in 1984 while with the Chicago Cubs.

But there is another major league player that came out of Nohr's tutelage towards the end of his career. He graduated from Western Hill in 1960, after starring in baseball and football. He took a shot at trying to play football at Tennessee, but baseball was his key to success athletically.

As it turned out, he debuted in the major leagues for his hometown Cincinnati Reds in 1963. Playing for 24 years, he is simply known as Charlie Hustle, embodying the spirit of the program of the high school at which he played and for the coach who taught him.

And if you go to Western Hill High, there is a dilapidated sign at the corner of the driveway leading into the school. It is simply known as "Pete Rose Drive".

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