GARDENDALE — City Council President Stan Hogeland thought he was at Bill Noble Park just to attend yet another opening night ceremony for Gardendale's youth baseball season.
Little did he know that Mayor Othell Phillips, his fellow city council members and his former employees at the Parks and Recreation Department had a surprise for the former parks and recreation superintendent.
Before last season's Dizzy Dean Baseball championship teams were recognized, Phillips told Hogeland that the park's Peewee Baseball field was being named Hogeland Field.
As Phillips and Dale Hyche, Hogeland's successor as superintendent, unfurled the new sign that will be placed at the field, Hogeland took the microphone - but couldn't say much. Hogeland was choked up.
Before retiring last year and running for city council, Hogeland had worked in the parks department since 1977. Among numerous accomplishments during his tenure, he helped develop the Splash Pad and Clemons Soccer Complex on Fieldstown Road, New Castle Park, and the Miracle League field at Luman Harris Park. Toward the end of his time as superintendent, he also oversaw the development of the first master plan for the city's parks.
Ironically, Hogeland once played baseball on the very field that now bears his name.
"By the way, we're not naming this field after you because of your play there," Phillips joked.