Exhibition ballgame will honor A.J. Noble

July 09, 2008 11:00 pm

By ED MERRIMAN

Baker City Herald

In a tribute to their friend and teammate, boys who played baseball with A.J. Noble from Little League through high school take the field at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Baker Sports Complex.

"We are called Team Alpha in honor of A.J.'s full name — Alpha John," said Jim Howerton, who was one of Noble's coaches or assistant coaches during his baseball career from T-Ball up through Little League, American Legion and three years as a varsity shortstop and on the Baker High School baseball team through his senior year in 2007.

Noble, the son of Todd and Carri Lee Walker Noble of Baker City, died May 23 at age 20. He'd been working as a beekeeper for K&C Honey of Halfway and was involved in a motor vehicle accident in which he sustained multiple bee stings.

"He walked away from the wreck. Three days later he died of cardiac arrest at the hospital (St.Alphonsus Hospital in Boise)," Howerton said.

He said Noble's former teammates will all be wearing his number, No. 5, and will play without a shortstop for the first inning of the Saturday evening memorial game against Winnemucca.

The game is scheduled during the "Team Rudi" Wood Bat Tournament July 11-13 a the Sports Complex.

"We get to play in one game of the tournament," Howerton said. Donations will be accepted at the game to help pay for an A.J. Noble memorial plaque to be mounted on the wall at the sports complex.

"The special thing about A.J. was his sense of humor. The boys talk about his sense of humor and his competitiveness on the field," Howerton said. "We always called him ‘Little Chief.' "

"We just don't want his passing to go unnoticed."

"We will talk to the family and the players to see what they want on the plaque," Howerton said. "It would be nice to get his picture on it and his No. 5."

"His teammates loved him. In a small town like this, the boys will do anything for each other," Howerton said.

Donations for the plaque can be made at the Team Alpha memorial game, or through Howerton at 519-4405.

Other games scheduled during the "Team Rudi" Wood Bat Tournament include:

Friday — Ontario vs. Baker and Pendleton vs. La Grande at 11:45 a.m.; Orofino vs. Winnemucca and La Grande vs. Ontario at 2:30 p.m.; and Baker vs. Orofino and Winnemucca vs. Pendleton at 5:15 p.m.

Saturday — Baker vs Pendleton and Winnemucca vs. La Grande at 11:45 a.m.; Pendleton vs. Orofino and Ontario vs. Winnemucca at 2:30 p.m.; and Baker vs. La Grande and Ontario vs. Orofino at 5:15 p.m., followed by the Team Alpha memorial game at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday — Seed No. 6 vs. Seed No. 7 and Seed No. 3 vs. Seed No. 4 at 9:30 a.m.; and Seed No. 1 vs. Seed No. 2 and Seed No. 5 vs. winner Seed No. 6/Seed No. 7 game.