By David Fong
TROY — Some of Jeff Elliott’s fondest memories of his older brother Mark were made while the two were growing up together on the baseball diamond.
“He was a senior when I was a freshman, so I got to play a little bit with those guys,” Jeff Elliott said. “I remember him being a very tenacious player. He had such a competitive spirit. He hated to lose. He was the epitome of someone who worked hard to hone his craft. This was back when there really wasn’t a lot of offseason training, but he was constantly working on his body, running and staying in shape.”
And now, the memories that Jeff Elliott has carried with him since his brother’s playing days will live on forever as his brother Mark — who passed away in March of 2013 at the age of 63 — will be immortalized this weekend as a member of the Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2016. This year’s class will be honored prior to the Troy football team’s Friday home opener against Trotwood-Madison, then again at a Saturday banquet to take place at the Crystal Room in Troy.
He’ll be joined in this year’s class by Harold “Corky” Valentine (class of 1948, baseball, basketball and football), Kees Scarff (class of 1963, football, baseball and basketball), Holly Rhoades Saylor (class of 1987, soccer, basketball and softball) and Julia Reel Niles (class of 1992, basketball).
Elliott, a 1968 Troy High School graduate, is just the fourth former Trojan going into the hall of fame primarily for his play on the baseball field and the third former Troy pitcher, joining Valentine and Heath Murray, both of whom went on to become Major League Baseball pitchers after graduating from Troy High School.
“This is just very special, given the fact baseball is one of the more obscure sports in terms of being able to track down statistics,” Jeff Elliott said. “Our family is just very, very thrilled and humbled that he was selected for this honor.”
The statistics that are available from Elliott’s high school career are impressive, to say the least. He was the team’s most valuable player and a first-team, all-league selection as both a junior and a senior. As a senior, he went 9-2 with a 0.80 earned run average, striking out 158 batters in just 68 2/3 innings — an average of 2.3 strikeouts per inning pitched.
He at his best in the postseason, pitching in all five of Troy’s tournament games and putting together a string of games that is nearly incomprehensible. He started off the four tournament games by throwing a shutout, another shutout, a no-hitter and yet another shutout. In the fifth game, he pitched 14 2/3 innings in a relief effort, striking out 15.
“We are just to happy to see him honored,” Jeff Elliott said. “We are proud of what he accomplished.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong