Amateur Baseball names Rockafellow “Man of the Year”
Richard “Rock” Rockafellow of Philip has been selected as the 2020 “Man of the Year” by the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association.
The lifetime achievement is named in memory of longtime baseball promoter and player Ralph Macy from Rapid City and is given to a person who has given of themself for the betterment of amateur baseball in South Dakota.
Rockafellow easily qualifies based on that criteria. He has given a lifetime of himself to South Dakota Amateur Baseball as a player, manager, umpire, Secretary to the South Dakota Umpire Association, Vice President of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association and Umpire in Chief for the South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
“Rock” served as secretary to the South Dakota Umpire Association for 12 years and has been a member of that Association’s Hall of Fame and Scholarship Committee since 1995. He became Vice President of the SDABA in 1997 and announced his retirement from that position this year after 28 State Tournaments.
“Rock” started his amateur baseball career in 1952 at the age of 14 playing for the Quinn amateur team for 10 years. Most of his career was spent either catching or pitching and he also served as Quinn’s manager for awhile.
He also played amateur baseball at Oldham and Philip before his playing career cut short in 1965 from a knee injury. He began umpiring in the 1970’s and worked several VFW Teener, American Legion and Amateur State Baseball Tournaments before retiring from umpiring in 1991 to become Umpire in Chief of the SDABA State Tournament.
Rockafellow was inducted into the South Dakota Umpire’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. He also received the Mark Mehlhaf Memorial Award in 2001.
Rock and his wife Echo of 63 years are the parents of two daughters, Rhonda Coyle of Philip and Judy Rockafellow of Pierre and son Mark Rockafellow of Hartford. They have six grandchildren, Cody, Elliott, Seth, Cole, Denise and Brynn and nine great grandchildren, Nathin, Emily, Alexis, Evan, William, Isabella, Angelina, Austin and Brady.
“Rock” thanks all of his family and all of baseball for the opportunity to be involved in the great sport of baseball in South Dakota.