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Henderson/Locke Baseball Plaque Dedication

henderson locke plaqueOn Tuesday, March 21, the family of the late Mr. Charley Henderson was honored prior to the Gainesville High School baseball game.  A plaque honoring Dr. W. Herbert Locke and Mr. Charley Henderson and their dedication to GHS baseball has been installed at the field.  Following the presentation, Charley's oldest son, Chris threw the first pitch and the family was gifted the ball as a keepsake.  

Locke field opened in 1946 and was home to the Gainesville Owls and was one of the last baseball fields in Texas with wooden dugouts and covered wooden stands. The Gainesville Owls competed in the Class B big state professional league and in the Sooner state leagues, making Gainesville the smallest city in the nation with a Class B baseball team. At the end of the first season, the City of Gainesville purchased the team and Dr. W. Herbert Locke, for whom the field was named, became the president. The team struggled for several years, and in 1955, the team moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma and became the Ponca City Cubs. Once vacated, the stadium played home to NCTC and the GHS baseball team.

Locke and Henderson are being memorialized not just for their service to Gainesville but also for their commitment to the youth that they both impacted through the game of baseball and mentorship. During the field's vacant state, these two individuals ensured that the field was maintained and cared for using their own resources so the kids of Gainesville and surrounding cities could have a quality facility to play their games.

Because of their collective efforts, the Locke field remained in operation for many years following the departure of the Gainesville Owls. However, in 2015, the stadium was demolished, and the land was used to build the Liberty Loft apartments.

"Charley took a special interest in the baseball program," Marvin Royal said.  "Me and my brother would help with the field, but Charley took care of it. He did it for the love of us and all of the kids who wanted to play on that field. He cared about all of us and he provided opportunities for a lot of kids. Charley was a very special guy that did a lot for this community and kids like me that didn't have opportunities."

Dr. W. Hubert Locke practiced medicine in Gainesville for many years and served on the City Council. Mr. Charley Henderson was a GHS graduate of 1967. After completing his degrees from both Cooke County and North Texas State, he began his career in broadcast media with KGAF and KXII in Sherman. A devoted businessman, Mr. Henderson would go on to build and operate several businesses in Gainesville. In addition, he also served on the GISD Board of Trustees from 1995-2004, where he served as President for three years. He also served on the Gainesville Parks & Recreation board, where he played an important role in the revitalization and renovation of Locke field in the 1990s.