The Hawk lands back in Clanton

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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UPDATE: The Chamber has sold all of its banquet tickets.

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, 1975 World Series champion and Clanton native Clay Carroll is coming back to his roots from Feb. 16-18. “The Hawk,” who was a member of the Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds teams in the 1970s, grew up in Clanton and pitched at Chilton County High School before making his MLB debut on Sept. 2, 1964.

Now, he will be immortalized in the city he called home.

“To me, if you do something like that for someone it states that they have made it,” Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims said. “It is about the pinnacle you can get having a street named after you … For him to have lived in this town, it is special and it is an honor to be able to do it for him.”

Carroll’s time in Clanton will start on Feb. 16 with a street naming ceremony being held at 500 Fifth Avenue at 3:30 p.m. Park Drive from the hill leading into Clanton City Park, around Jack Hayes Field and leading to Third Avenue will be named Clay Carroll Parkway. Ordinances have already been put in place, and the event will unveil the signs for the newly named road. Some of Carrol’s old teammates at CCHS, family and friends will be present for his street naming ceremony.

Mims knew Carroll through building houses with his brothers.

“He is a great guy,” Mims said. “I have known him for a long time through his family … When I got into office, we decided to name a street after him.”

Clanton City Council member Billy Singleton helped dig up old archives about Carroll in preparation for his visit. The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce has encouraged businesses in Clanton to decorate their storefront from Feb. 16-18 welcoming Carroll back to town.

After the street dedication on Feb. 16, Carroll will go down to Jack Hayes Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of Chilton County High School’s opening day game against Alabama Christian Academy at 4:30 p.m.

At 5:30 after the first pitch, there will be a meet and greet reception with Carroll that is open to the public at Clanton City Hall in the council chambers.

On Feb. 17, Carroll will be the guest of honor at the Chamber Banquet and be honored as one of the Citizens of the Year. The banquet is at 6th Street Warehouse located at 202 Sixth Street South, Clanton.

Carroll lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee now and was very appreciative of the gesture when Mims called him with the news.

“I thought ‘Man, that is a nice guy,’” Mims said. “Then, I watched him in the World Series in 1970 and 1975 … Clay just loved baseball, and I have always admired him because he is just a good guy.”

Carroll will spend Feb. 18 in Clanton around town visiting with residents as well.