Bobby Sanders* – Athlete (2016 Inductee)

bobby sanders 2016

1957 Earned Athletic Scholarship to Florida A&M University
1958-1959 Shortstop for the Birmingham Black Barons
1958 & 1959 Negro League All-Star Game East League Representative
1960 One of two Black players chosen to join the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization
1960 Played for the Class “D” Elmira Pioneers in the fabled New York-Penn League
1961Class “C” Pioneer League All-Star while playing for Magic Valley Cowboys
1961 Led the Pioneer League in Home Runs (40), RBI’s (118), Slugging Percentage (.642) and
Total Bases (291), second in Runs Scored (113) and seventh with a Batting Average of .325.
1961 Set a post-war Pioneer League record for Home Runs with 40
1962 Led Eastern League in Runs Scored with 98, tied for second in Home Runs (20), third in Batting
Average (.320) and top five in several other categories while playing for the Class “A” Williamsport Grays
1962 Williamsport Grays are crowned East League Champions
1962 Eastern League Most Valuable Player
1963 Promoted to Class “AA” Chattanooga Lookouts of the South Atlantic League
1964 Class “AA” Williamsport Mets-Led Eastern League in Home Runs; 6th in Total Bases

1981-1995 Five time individual National Senior Division Champion in Racquetball
1977-1995 Paired with Otis Chapman and won 30 Ohio State Racquetball Championships
1995 Inducted into the Ohio Racquetball Hall of Fame

Bobby Sanders participated in three sports at Hatcher High School and excelled at each of them.  Clearly, baseball was his favorite and his exploits on the diamond with the local Centre Blue Sox are legendary. Sanders graduated from Hatcher in 1956 and received a baseball scholarship to Florida A&M College.  As one of the first Black student/athletes from Cherokee County to attend college, Sanders served as a catalyst for generations to follow. While attending Florida A&M, Sanders excelled and his reputation spread as being one of the finest all-round players in the SIAC. While playing in the popular Florida winter leagues Sanders talents caught the attention of the Negro Leagues famed Birmingham Black Barons. They offered Sanders a contract and he joined them in 1958. Sanders’ outstanding play twice earned him slots on the East team for the annual All-Star Game at Comiskey Park in Chicago. In 1960, Sanders became one of two Black players to move into the Philadelphia Phillies organization.  His first assignment was with the Elmira Pioneers in the tradition rich New York-Penn League.  In 1961, while playing for the Magic Valley Cowboys, Sanders set a post-war Pioneer League home run record (40).  He also was the league leader in RBI’s and total bases and claimed a spot on the Class “C” All-Star team.  In 1962, Sanders was promoted to Williamsport where he led the Grays to an Eastern League championship and garnered accolades as the league MVP.  In 1963, he advanced to the · “Chattanooga Lookouts. He closed out his professional baseball career with the Williamsport Mets the following season, topping the league in home runs.   He formally retired from baseball in 1967.  In 1968, Bobby picked up the sport of racquetball and proceeded to win five National Championships in the Senior Division between 1981 and 1995. Sanders also paired with Otis Chapman to earn over 30 state titles.  In 1995, he was inducted into the Ohio Racquetball Hall of Fame. Sanders also became an accomplished ballroom dancer and instructor. A memorial scholarship was established by his dance group and bears his name, providing financial assistance to college bound students. Sanders passed on October 28, 2015 at the age of 77.