Former Major League Baseball slugger Josh Hamilton and Lowcountry coaching legend Jerry Stoots are among the five finalists for the 2018 Class of the Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame.
Rounding out the list are Charleston native Joe Clayton and former Citadel stars Dick Jones and Rhame “Chip” Cannon.
The Charleston RiverDogs announced Monday that fans can now vote online at riverdogs.com. The top 3 vote-getters will be enshrined during a ceremony on July 28.
Here’s a little more about each candidate:
• Hamilton had one of the most powerful bats in Major League Baseball during his prime. The No.1 pick in the 1999 draft, Hamilton played 96 games for the RiverDogs in 2000 and tallied 13 home runs and 61 RBIs while batting .301. Hamilton made his big league debut in 2007 and played nine seasons. He captured American League MVP honors in 2010 when he batted .359 with 32 long balls and 100 RBIs.
• Stoots is a coaching legend in the Lowcountry. He almost totaled 600 wins during a 31-year tenure at Stall High, including 15 region championships and a Class AAA state title in 1985. He then took over at Northwoods Academy and coached the team to 261 wins in 11 years of work. That includes five consecutive state finals appearances. Today, Stoots is coaching the Oceanside Collegiate Academy baseball team. He became the winningest coach in state history when he captured his 890th win this past season.
• Cannon is a North Charleston native who was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2004. Prior to that, he made his name at the Citadel, where he earned All-Southern Conference honors twice for his play at first base, at the plate, and on the pitcher’s mound. He finished second in Bulldogs’ history with 40 homers.
• Clayton is a longtime member of American Legion Post 147 on James Island. His legacy includes starting the post’s baseball program in 1968. His role evolved to serving on the state-wide American Legion Baseball committee and he eventually became the State Commissioner in the 1990s, and worked with the National Committee in Indianapolis.
• Jones, another former Citadel standout, would be enshrined in a posthumous fashion. He was All-Southern Conference in baseball in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was inducted into the Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978. Jones served as the first ever Director of Recreation of Mount Pleasant, and also served as mayor of the town from 1984-1991.