For the first 87 years of his life, North Augusta resident Lou Brissie had nothing named for him. Now, Brissie has a baseball field bearing his name.
Lou Brissie Field, located at Riegel Stadium, on the campus of Ware Shoals High School, was dedicated at a ceremony on Veterans Day. Lamar Garrard, a friend of Brissie's and the idea-man behind the naming of the field, said the ceremony was “beautiful.”
“The event was more than I could ever hope for or believe,” Garrard said. “There were over 1,000 students from the schools and 500 people from the community there. The stadium was full. I've never seen anything like it.”
Garrard said the new monument, that features Brissie, celebrates his military and baseball history.
“The monument is 6 feet tall, made of granite, with a bronze plaque on it,” he said. “The plaque has a picture of Lou on it, along with a baseball and a bronze star. His wife was there for it. It was a beautiful thing to see.”
Brissie was unable to attend the ceremony, as he is currently in the hospital.
“They live streamed the entire thing so Lou could watch it from his hospital room,” Garrard said. “Lou recorded a message that was played at the field. He thanked everyone who helped put this together. He said it was such a great honor and how proud he was to have this field named for him.”
While the dedication of Lou Brissie Field is done, it is still missing a scoreboard, which is coming in before baseball season starts.
“The scoreboard is going to be here in the next few months,” Garrard said. “It's going to say 'Lou Brissie Field' at the top. It will be the first scoreboard they had here.”
According to Garrard, Brissie was discovered on the field in Ware Shoals by Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics. Brissie fought in World War II, shattering his leg in Europe. Brissie went through a number of operations, some experimental, to go on to play baseball with a metal brace on his leg. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 28, 1947, for the Philadelphia Athletics.
Garrard called Brissie's story “the greatest World War II baseball story.”
According to John Felak, program coordinator for the City of North Augusta, Brissie has lived in North Augusta for around 45 years.
“Lou came to North Augusta by way of the Clearwater Finishing plant,” Felak said. “I've never met a more humble, Southern gentleman than him.”
The North Augusta Athletic Hall of Fame created the Lou Brissie Award two years ago, to honor citizens of North Augusta who had exemplary performance in the athletic arena that should be recognized.
“This award isn't given every year,” Felak said. “It's an award that we give to honor those athletes who come to North Augusta after their careers are over.”
Lou Brissie Field at Riegel Stadium is located at 56 Greenwood Ave. in Ware Shoals.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.