Click here to edit title

Click here to edit subtitle

By: Ryan Wallace - www.vandaliabutlerbaseball.com

VANDALIAThis Friday evening, April 27th the Butler Baseball team will host an Alumni Night for the 7:00 PM game versus Xenia.  Between innings the Aviators will honor Butler Baseball alumni in attendance.


Throwing out the first pitch for Friday's festivities will be 1946 Butler graduate Dick Scherer.  The 89-year old right hander should feel right at home, as he served as a pitcher and shortstop for the Aviators from 1943 - 1946.

"It is a great honor," said Scherer from his home in St. Marys last week.  "I never expected anything like this."

Scherer will certainly be the most seasoned of former players in attendance, and truly someone who was there from the infancy of the program.  

While the Aviators formally fielded the school's first organized baseball team in 1930, the program was quickly disbanded after the 1931 season due mainly to poor performance and lack of facilities.  It wasn't until the 1941 season that baseball returned to Butler as a mainstay.

In the early years games were played on a diamond owned by Vandalia resident Harry Brusman, but the Aviators soon moved to a field behind the old high school and former Morton Junior High.

In fact it was M. Byron Morton himself who coached Scherer and the Aviators from 1943 - 1946.  They are days that Scherer looks back on fondly.

"I enjoyed playing baseball and being with my friends," said Scherer. "We had a good team and it gave me something to do."

Of those teams, Scherer recalled the 1946 team as being one that still stands out the most in his recollections. 
 
"Great times with guys like Ray Nardini, Norman Monnin, Bill Shoup, Tom Scheibenberger, Gene Lacoste, Jim Arndts and many others I can’t remember at the moment."

He started his Butler career as a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball.  But after a season of basketball, which at the time was played in the basement of the high school, Scherer shifted his focus to football and baseball.

For Scherer the passion for baseball is one that has never left him.  

"I just loved to play baseball and ended up being pretty good at it. I was fortunate to play into my forties with a team from Vandalia. We played all over the state," he said.

Not only was Scherer one of the pioneers of sorts for the baseball program, he also played a role in a number of firsts on the football field as well.

Scherer was a member of the 1945 football team that played in the city of Vandalia's first ever night game under the lights at the newly christened Butler Memorial Field.

The team went on to defeat Osborn-Bath by a score of 13-0 in the inaugural game, making them the first team to win on the new field.

"Our class had  built that field," recalled Scherer.  "Harold Burton, a US Senator and Supreme Court Justice, came and dedicated the field.  He even remembered us when we went to Washington DC on our Senior Trip." 

Another came later that season, when the Aviators played in an ultra rare football double-header.  Remarkably Butler followed a 28-0 shutout of Madison (Trotwood) with a 40-0 blowout win over Milton-Union.

There is yet another first for which Scherer holds sole distinction.

"I was the first player to get a broken bone on Memorial Field," Scherer chuckled.  "It happened right in front of my parents who typically never came to my games because they were working."

Scherer's father Leo worked as a butcher at The Market House in Dayton and his mother Beatrice worked in a Dayton factory that made carbine rifles.

Scherer didn't just play sports at Butler, he also covered them and penned a number of articles as the school reporter for the Butler Aviator, the high school's newspaper.

After graduation Scherer went to work for his father at the butcher shop but soon left to work for Board of Education President Russell Stoner, who also owned and operated a fruit farm.  That fruit farm is known today as Monnin's Fruit Farm.

From there Scherer spent time working at  Elder’s (Known as Elder-Beerman today), was a meat packer at Focke's and went on to begin a career at Fridgidaire.

He married his high school sweetheart Frances Jean Stutelberg (Class of 1947) in 1950 and that same year was drafted into the Korean War.  Scherer would spend the next two years in Korea before returning to Frigidaire, where he would work for the next 25 years.

After Fridgidaire Scherer worked for the Rescue Squad in Butler Township, at which time was located in the building across from Murlin Heights Elementary.  Scherer would earn the rank of Lieutenant during his time at the department.

It was in talking about his time with the Rescue Squad that Scherer shared an interesting fact about the department's transportation.

"Our rescue ambulance was Morton Funeral Home's hearse," recalled Scherer.

 At 40 years old Scherer took on his next adventure, changing careers and moving on to the Sheriff's office, where he would work for the next 25-years.

His wife Fran passed away in 1976, and he later remarried Martha Imwalle.  The couple has been married for over 35 years.

For Scherer, life has been good and filled with many blessings along the way.

He has two children from his marriage to Fran, nine step-children and over 100 grandchildren.  Five of the children graduated from Butler through 1976 to 1988.

Granddaughter Brooke is currently a junior at Butler and plays soccer for the Aviators.  Another granddaughter Madison graduated in 2016 and played volleyball and softball for Butler.

For Scherer, life has been good and filled with many blessings along the way.

He has two children from his marriage to Fran, nine step-children and over 100 grandchildren.  Five of the children graduated from Butler through 1976 to 1988.

Granddaughter Brooke is currently a junior at Butler and plays soccer for the Aviators.  Another granddaughter Madison graduated in 2016 and played volleyball and softball for Butler.

The memories of his time in Vandalia are ones that are still very special to Scherer.

"I’m grateful for growing up in this area," he said.  "I was and still am proud to be a Butler Aviator."