WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012 • VOL. 15, NO. 4 •FREE
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
by Robert Naddrarobert@dekalbchamp.com
our generations of Medlocks sat a picnictable celebrating theevolution of the park that bears their name.Hundreds of residents joined the Medlocks onApril 13 at Medlock Park in Decatur to recognize the50th anniversary of the park and of the Druid Hills YouthSports association, which began in 1962 as Briarcliff Community Sports.The event, which alsoserved as the openingceremony for the asso-ciation’s youth baseballseason, brought out past presidents, players andcoaches as well as morethan a dozen members of the Medlock family.“What you have doneto honor my great-grandfa-ther is tremendous,”
told the crowd.“It honors us greatly by in-viting us to this event.”Wade Medlock is thenephew of 87-year-oldDecatur resident
, the only livinggrandson of
WilliamParks “Buck” Medlock,
who purchased in 1882 theland that is now the park.“This was PeachtreeCreek bottomland. It usedto be all orchards and farm-land,” Wade Medlock said.Much of the areaaround the park has tiesto the Medlock family.Willivee Drive, whichruns adjacent to the park,is named for Buck’s ﬁrstdaughter
,known as “Miss Willie.”Also, Buck’s ﬁrst wifewas a member of the fam-ily that provided nearbyMason Mill Park and thefamily of his second wife,
, providedthe land for Kittredge Park.Medlock Park was builtin February 1960 and wasoriginally used for base- ball, football and softball.There is no longer a youthfootball league in the park, but baseball and softballstill thrive.Briarcliff CommunitySports formed in 1962, andDruid Hills Youth Sportsformed in 1990 when BCSmerged with North Decatur Youth Sports.
, who played at BCS in the1960s, is the group’s mostfamous alumnus. Blom- berg went on to play for the New York Yankees.“He came to a couple of the opening day events thatwe had,” said
,who served as president of BCS in 1988-89.
, who be-gan his association withBCS as a coach in 1982, became its president from1984-85.“Back then there werea lot of well-known fami-lies who participated,”Planas said. “The
allstarted here. There wasa tremendous amount of pride among all the fami-lies who belonged to theorganization.”Planas said he particu-larly remembers the cama-raderie between the presi-dents of the association.“Many of the past presidents offered to comeout and help any way theycould,” Planas said. “Ithought it was special thatthey felt so tied in to Bri-arcliff Community Sports.My circle of friends I havetoday are friends I met atthe ballpark 30 years ago.”The importance of those who helped buildthe program into whatit is now is noticeablearound Medlock Park.
, who was asso-ciation president in 1993,remembers the effect theumpires had on the league.One of the baseballﬁelds is named for
Jim“Big Pop” Cobb
, a former umpire who attended theceremony. There also is amemorial for former um- pire
.“They worked veryhard at helping the kids,”McAuliffe said. “Theytook time to teach themabout baseball and theywere friends to the kids.”
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
Medlock Park and baseball help bond Decatur community
Thomas Medlock, 87, seated, and his family attended the 50th anniversary of Medlock Park on April 13. Photos by Robert Naddra