To Murphy Jones, Bill Jones and Duke Fakouri, their service to Babe Ruth Baseball in Pine Bluff has always been about the kids.
The three longtime volunteers to the league were honored Monday with induction into the Pine Bluff Junior Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Their names were added to the wall of other inductees just outside Taylor Field.
Fakouri, one of the commissioners for Babe Ruth’s Southwest Region, had no idea why he was at the stadium until the ceremony.
“I’m assuming my wife knew,” he said. “I figured we’d meet about the state tournament coming up.
“It’s a pleasant surprise to be honored with others on the wall.”
Fakouri has been involved with the local league as a coach and umpire. He coached the Pine Bluff all-star team to second place in the 1990 13-year-old World Series.
Murphy Jones and his son Bill also have coached Babe Ruth and been involved in donations to the league through their family-owned Sissy’s Log Cabin. The elder Jones’ association with local baseball dates back more than four decades, when Bill got started in T-ball.
“The children keep me going,” Murphy Jones said. “In Hamburg, where I grew up, we never had a baseball team.
“It’s been a good ride.”
The Joneses also built an indoor practice and workout facility near their Pine Bluff store that youth, high school and college teams utilize. A team clubhouse in Murphy Jones’ honor is built behind the home dugout at Watson Chapel High School.
Bill Jones coached a state championship team for five straight years in the 14- to 17-year-old age groups. He said being inducted into the Hall of Fame is “such a huge honor.”
“Baseball and Pine Bluff have always been so important,” he said. “I’ve been able to work with many players and show them how hard work can bring them something great in life.
Murphy and Bill were also presented with a blue base that read “It’s In The Bag … Murphy … Bill … HALL OF FAME.” The “bag” refers to the base.
“Pine Bluff’s been so good to us, we’ve got to give back,” the younger Jones said. “We’ve been blessed.”