Al Evans, a Kenly native whose 12-year Major League Baseball career was interrupted by World War II, was among those inducted into the Johnston County Athletic Hall of Fame on May 7.
Evans, who died in 1979 at age 62, attended Oak Ridge Military Academy after graduating from Kenly High. Per the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Evans played in the “textile leagues,” semiprofessional baseball organizations in towns in North Carolina and South Carolina, for a couple of seasons before being signed by the Washington Senators to a minor league contract in 1937. He made his major league debut with the Senators in September 1939, the first of 12 MLB season. Evans joined the U.S Navy after the 1942 season until May 1944, when he returned to the Senators.
Evans was known for his defensive prowess behind the plate, where he caught Senators future hall-of-famer Early Wynn, and was saluted as the top defensive backstop in the American League in 1949. In 12 seasons, Evans batted .250 with 13 home runs and 211 RBIs in 704 games. He played four more seasons of minor league baseball after his final MLB game in 1951 with the Boston Red Sox.
The other members of the class of 2022 were former sports writer D. Clay Best, former West Johnston High swimming star Sarah Henry; Glen M. Hinnant, a baseball and basketball star at the old Corinth Holders High in the 1960s; Smithfield native LuLong Ogburn Medlin, who became the all-time leading scorer in Johnston County girls basketball with nearly 2,000 points before later being a runner-up in the Miss America pageant, and former Princeton High three-sport star Rodney Ormond, who led the Bulldogs to two state championships in baseball;