Year Inducted – 2021
Ken was born in Canton Ohio in 1963. He grew up with four sisters, his mother was a registered nurse and his father was a truck driver. With his parents being from Pennsylvania, his first baseball experience was at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburg. With his father, Uncle George and Cousin Henry he saw Roberto Clemente throw out a player at third base from the right field corner and was instantly a baseball fan. From age seven he played little league in Marlboro, eventually playing for Dale Herbert and Denny Lutton at Marlington High School. After graduating high school in 1981, he enlisted to the Army as an Armor Tank Crewman. He left the Army when his tour was up in 1986 with the rank of E-5, and an honorable discharge.
From 1986 to 1995 he drove truck for someone, hauling something. In the early 1990s while driving locally he was asked to help coach a summer girl’s fast pitch team in Marlboro. He accepted and helped Tom Wilson, Gene Dunlap and Chip Fohl, coach their girls and others from ages eleven to fourteen years of age. The teams finished as state runner up one season and third place two other seasons. Some of the young ladies on these teams played for Marlinton High School in 1996, winning the Duke’s first state championship in soft ball. Ken was VERY proud of their team accomplishment, and most of all, the young ladies he had the opportunity to coach.
In the mid 1990’s he attended Schneider Nationals Truck Driving School and then was hired to drive for them. Being an over the road driver he wasn’t home very much but every day during baseball season he would try and find a game to listen to on the radio, depending on what city he was in. In 1997, while in St Louis, Harry Wendelstedt was on during a Cardinals game advertising his professional umpire school. Ken enrolled the winter of 1997 and was in class January of 1998. Meeting ED White in class, ED introduced Ken to Bob Spangler and Joe Schratz after graduation. At the first OSHAA local meeting he met Ed Galloway and Ron Reed. Ron asked if Ken would be interested in helping him with his new umpire class. He accepted and ended up being Ron’s mechanics instructor from 1998 to 2012 and still makes appearances helping during clinics. Bob Spangler was the scheduler of EVERYTHING. Besides baseball, he also scheduled Ken in football, boys and girls basketball and volleyball. Bob had something for Ken to do all year. If he could help Bob out in any way, he would.
Also, starting in 1998 Ken worked for Joe Schratz and many other college assigners. In 1999 Ed and Joe introduced Ken to Clark Davis, Gene Cusic college baseball assigner and Atlantic League of Professional Baseball crew chief. Ken worked the Gene Cusic Tournament in Ft Myers Florida from 2000 to 2003. There he met Jim Schaly, Frontier League of Professional Baseball assigner and director of umpires. Jim hired Ken to work in the Frontier League of Professional Baseball for 2001 and 2002 seasons. Ken was awarded Umpire of the Year in 2001. While in Florida, Clark and Jim asked Ken if he would be interested in working in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He had an audition game during the 2003 Gene Cusic tournament and was hired by Joe Klein. He worked the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball 2003 to 2004 seasons.
During 2004, Joe Schratz informed Ken that there would be an opening for the NAIA World Series in 2006. After applying and with letters of recommendations from Tim Mead, University of Walsh head coach, and Joe Schratz, Pete Hanson accepted his application. He worked the 2006 to 2009 NAIA World Series, having the plate assignment in the 2008 Championship game.