Trot Nixon heads Hall of Fame class

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — WWAY’s “Fifth Quarter” co-host Trot Nixon headlines this year’s class of inductees into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, May 6 at UNCW’s Burney Center.

Nixon was a standout baseball and football player at New Hanover High School. He was headed to NC State before he signed to play for the Boston Red Sox, with whom he won a World Series in 2004.

The other inductees include orthopaedist Dr. James Dineen, the late USGA president Ike Grainger and tennis great Lenny Simpson.

Dr. Jim Dineen was a superb orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine pioneer. Dr. Dineen taught third-year medical students at UNC one day a week from 1958 until 1992, with the exception of the three years he was Chief of Orthopaedics at the US Naval Hospital in Oakland, CA.

When he began his weekly teaching visits to Chapel Hill, Dr. Dineen was Chief of Orthopaedics at the US Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune. He continued teaching medical students after retiring from the Navy and opening Coastal Orthopaedics in Wilmington in 1964.

Initially a Clinical Instructor at UNC, Dr. Dineen was promoted to Clinical Professor in 1986, and in 2003 the Department of Orthopaedics honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jim Dineen was born in Corning, New York, and received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1945. He served residencies at US Naval hospitals and at Children’s Medical Center in Boston. After serving as Assistant Chief of Orthopaedics at the US Army Hospital in Oahu, Hawaii, he was transferred to Camp Lejeune in 1955.

After serving 22 years as a medical officer for the US Navy he retired in 1964 as captain and opened Coastal Orthopaedics in Wilmington the first orthopaedic group in the area involved in sports.

He was admired and respected by his colleagues, who elected him Chief of Staff of Cape Fear Memorial Hospital in 1972.

Dr. Dineen pushed to get local medical emergency programs off the ground. He played a key role in creating the Emergency Medical Services systems in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, and he worked with the hospital in Wilmington to develop the area’s first training program for paramedics.

Dineen spent years researching sports injuries and promoting safety on the playing field. He is solely responsible for encouraging coaches to hydrate their players and instituted the wrapping of posts in end zones. He trained coaches how to wrap shoulders and ankles for strength and was instrumental in instituting annual physical exams for all high school athletes in the state. He was the first team director of New Hanover High School.

Dr. Dineen spearheaded the formation of the Medical Aspects of Sports Committee of the North Carolina Medical Society and organized the first of what has become an annual symposium on sports medicine.

ISAAC B. (IKE) GRAINGER (Posthumously)
Isaac B. (Ike) Grainger, former president of the United States Golf Association, was one of the country’s leading authorities on the rules of golf.

Grainger was also president of Chemical Bank from 1956 to 1960. He was considered instrumental in developing the bank’s retail network. In 1996, Chemical Bank merged with Chase Manhattan.

Grainger was a director of the Hartford Fire Insurance Company and Smith Barney Managed Funds and was an adviser-director of the Union Electric Company of St. Louis.

His business expertise, however, was probably overshadowed by his knowledge of and devotion to the game of golf. Mr. Grainger was chairman of the U.S.G.A. committee that in 1951 negotiated the first uniform code of rules with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland and reportedly assisted President Dwight D. Eisenhower with his short game at the White House. He was a chairman of the USGA rules committee and vice chairman of the Augusta National Rules Committee. As president of the USGA, Grainger presented Arnold Palmer with his first amateur champion cup in 1954. He also served as president of the Metropolitan Golf Association and the United States Seniors’ Golf Association.

Born in Wilmington in 1895, Grainger attended Woodberry Forest School in Virginia and Princeton University in New Jersey.

During World War I, he served on the home front as a captain of infantry and as an instructor in officers training schools at Fort Oglethorpe and Camp Gordon, both in Georgia.

He later held executive positions with the Murchison National Bank in Wilmington, the North Carolina Bank and Trust Company of Greensboro and the Montclair Trust Company in New Jersey. He joined Chemical Bank in 1943 and served as president from 1956 to 1960, when he reached mandatory retirement age.

In 1995 (the centennial year for both the association and Grainger), the USGA designated the Ike Grainger Award to recognize people who have volunteered for the USGA for 25 years.

Christopher Trot Nixon played 12 years in the Major Leagues for three different teams but is best known for his play with the Boston Red Sox, where he was a fixture in right field for 10 seasons. He was among the most popular players in Boston due to his hustle and intensity.

Trot attended New Hanover High School where he was a two-sport star. As a senior he was named North Carolina baseball Player of the Year and Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year while leading his team to a state 4A title with a .512 batting average, 12 home runs, a state record 56 RBIs, and pitched 40 innings with a 12-0 record and a 0.40 ERA.

In football, Trot broke several school passing records and was offered a scholarship to play quarterback at North Carolina State. He gave up football after being selected by the Red Sox in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1993 MLB Draft.

Trot’s first full season with the Red Sox came in 1999 after being called-up sporadically the previous two seasons. He had a career-best year in 2003 when he batted .306 with 24 doubles and 28 home runs. In game three of the American League Division Series that season, Trot was called from the bench as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 11th. With the Red Sox facing elimination, Trot lined a two-run homer over the center field wall for a 3-1 Boston victory over the Oakland A’s.

During the 2004 season, Trot was unavailable for several months due to a couple of injuries. Upon his return, he was the starting right fielder throughout the remainder of the regular and postseason. In the deciding game of the 2004 World Series, Trot hit a two-out, two-run double off the right field wall at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in the top of the third inning to give Boston a 3-0 lead. Those runs proved to be the difference as the Red Sox swept the Cardinals for the team’s first World Series title in 86 years. For the series, Trot batted .357 with three RBI’s.

Trot endeared himself to Sox fans through his unwavering dedication to his teammates and by briefly wearing a Mohawk hairstyle, one of the many unconventional hairstyles sported by the Red Sox over the course of the 2004 season. Trot also served as the inspiration for the expression “Dirt Dogs.” The signature is that of a “scrapper,” a player who hustles and isn’t afraid to get dirty to win a game.

Following the 2006 season, Trot was not offered a salary arbitration by the Red Sox and signed with the Cleveland Indians, where he played for one season. In 2007, he played for the New York Mets and briefly signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers before retiring.

Known for giving back to his community, Trot generously volunteers his time and talent to countless organizations. He is married to Kathryn and they have two sons, Chase and Luke.

Lendward “Lenny” Simpson, Jr., a Wilmington native, had the good fortune to be the next door neighbor to Nathaniel Jackson and to Dr. Hubert Eaton, who at the time was coaching Althea Gibson. With encouragement from all three, the 8 year old Lenny began to improve his tennis skills and he caught the eye of Dr. R. Walter Johnson, a legend who found the best African American athletes he could and introduced them to competitive tennis via his Junior Development Team. In 1964, Lenny defeated Dick Stockton to win the singles title at the US Lawn Tennis Association’s Eastern Boy’s 14s Championships in Forest Hills. Later that same year, he became the youngest male player, at that time, to ever play at the U. S. National Championships (now known as the US Open). He won his first round match but would lose to longtime mentor and friend Arthur Ashe in the second round.

Lenny’s talent on the court secured an academic/athletic scholarship to attend prep school at Cheshire Academy where he played No. 1. He became the first person to be inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. Lenny next attended East Tennessee State University where he earned a BS in Physical Education and Psychology. Outside the classrooms of ETSU, he played no. 1 singles and doubles throughout his collegiate career. He claimed Ohio Valley Conference titles (singles and doubles), reached the NCAA quarterfinals, captained the tennis team(1968-1972), and coached the tennis team (1972-1973). In 1973, Lenny entered the professional tour and became the first African American player to compete in World Team Tennis, signing with the Detroit Loves. Starting in 1977, he became a tennis instructor and eventually settled in Knoxville, TN where he would realize his dream of owning a tennis facility, as co-owner of Center Court Racquet Club.

Currently, Simpson is the owner of Simpson & Associates which organizes tennis exhibitions across the country. He serves as co-chair with George Rountree for the Althea Gibson Tennis Center’s Annual Charitable Fundraiser.

Categories: New Hanover

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