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Remembering a Baseball Legend and Knoxville Institution

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) -- The baseball bibles may say he was from Knoxville, but everybody who knew him knew he was from Strawplains.

Tonight, all who know Major League legend, and former Knoxville City Councilman Ed Bailey, are mourning the loss a friend.

"He made Major League Baseball when there were only eight teams in both leagues," said U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan, "and baseball was by far, the premier sport."

Fourteen seasons, 5 clubs, 915 hits, 155 home runs, and 3 all star games with the Cincinnati Reds.

Those numbers alone could cement a legacy for catcher Lonas Edgar Bailey Jr., but for Ed, it was just the beginning.

"I've lost what I think was a very, very good friend," Duncan said, "but many people in this area would say the same thing."

The current Congressman Duncan remembers him as a right hand man to his father, and as a regular disher of wit, at his own annual
barbecue.

"He's gracious enough to think that, you know, you can't go it by yourself," Bailey once said of Duncan at one of those Barbecues, "you've got to have some people help you."

His words, for the Congressman, could, just as easily, have described himself.

"Ed was compassionate," said Jack Sharp, Baileys fellow City Council member and friend. "He would listen to people. He would study the issues and he would go out and talk to people, and he was well-informed, because he was well-connected."

As a fellow colleagues on the Knoxville City Council, Sharp knew Ed Bailey could always break the tension and stand his ground.

"He said something that didn't go over well with the audience," Sharp said, "and they booed him a little bit, and he said I've been boo'ed by more people, and stronger people. That's the way I feel about it now what are you going to do about it."

Current Council Member Barb Pelot couldn't have asked for a better neighbor.

"It's just simply his interest in sports, and athletics and young people," Pelot said, "and I think, just the Christian values, that dominate that family and that home.

Ed Bailey was three weeks and one day short of his 76th birthday when lost his battle with throat cancer last night.

He leaves his wife Betty, and four sons, Jeff, Jack, Jim and Joe, who just like his father now serves on the Knoxville City Council.

Arrangements are pending.


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