HE WAS A FRIEND, SCHOOLMATE & FRATERNITY BROTHER OF MINE.


Field to be named for Ruggles

                    May 13, 2001

                    By Lisette Kaczka News-Sentinel sportswriter

                    In 1957, Jack Ruggles made a name for himself in Little
                    League baseball. More than 40 years later, the name hasn't
                    lost its prominence.

                    A Little League baseball field at Lakeshore Park will be named
                    Ruggles Field this week in honor of John R. Ruggles III, a
                    Knoxville native who was killed in Vietnam in 1968, at the age of
                    23.

                    The field will be dedicated Saturday at 11 a.m. The public is
                    invited to attend.

                     Fred Smith, chairman of the board and CEO of Federal Express,
                    will be among guest speakers at the dedication ceremony. Smith
                    was Ruggles' company commander in Vietnam. The Marine
                    Corps Color Guard also will take part in the ceremony.

                    Ruggles, who was an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam was
                    posthumously awarded a Purple Heart. The Marine Corps
                    second lieutenant was killed while going to the aid of one of his
                    wounded men.

                    Sports played a prominent role in Ruggles' youth. He was an
                    award-winning swimmer and made a hole-in-one when he was
                    15. But baseball was his greatest love.

                    Ruggles was a left-handed first baseman for the South Knoxville
                    Legion All-Stars Little League team. In 1957, they won the
                    district and state Little League championships and the Southern
                    Sectional Little League title before losing to Owensboro, Ky., in
                    the Southern Regional Little League tournament in Louisville,
                    Ky. Had they won the Louisville tournament, Ruggles and his
                    teammates would have been headed to Williamsport, Pa., for the
                    Little League World Series.

                    Ruggles excelled in sports after overcoming polio. The disease,
                    which he battled for three months as a third-grader at Bearden
                    Elementary, left him with some muscular impairment.

                    He graduated from Bearden High School in 1962, and Miami
                    University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1968. Ruggles was enrolled in the
                    University of Tennessee Law School, when he volunteered for
                    the Marines.

                    John Propis, who went through Marine training with Ruggles, will
                    speak at Saturday's ceremony. Mayor Victor Ashe also will
                    attend the dedication.

                    Proceeds from the Jack Ruggles Memorial Fund will benefit the
                    Knox Youth Sports, Inc. programs. Donations may be sent to
                    Caesar Stair, 530 South Gay St., Suite 600, Knoxville, TN
                    37902. Checks should be made payable to Knox Youth Sports,
                    Inc.