Carroll honored with Citizen of the Year Award

Published 11:32 am Monday, February 20, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, World Series champion and former Clanton native Clay Carroll was named a citizen of the year in Chilton County and awarded one of the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Awards during the 2023 Chilton County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on Feb. 17.

“I would like to thank Mr. Carroll for being here and his family for being here tonight and making time for this event,” Rachel Martin, executive director of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, said. “We are honored to be able to show you the recognition that you deserve, and being able to celebrate a hometown hero like yourself has been a great experience for us.”

Carroll grew up in Clanton and was a graduate of Chilton County High School where he threw two no-hitters. Many people recalled Carroll working in the cotton mill or as a carhop at a local eatery while growing up, but everyone knew of his baseball talent.

Clanton Councilman Billy Singleton introduced Carroll by giving his account of remembering watching the World Series in 1970 on his television, and Carroll pitching for the Cincinnati Reds.

“’Here comes Clay Carroll of Clanton, Alabama,’ the announcer said,’” Singleton said.

Carroll entered game four of the series with the Reds trailing the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 in the game, and 3-0 in the series. Carroll took the mound and threw 3.2 innings of one-hit baseball striking out four batters and was the winning pitcher in the game.

Carroll also captured a save in the 1972 World Series against the Athletics, and was the winning pitcher in game seven of the 1975 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. The 1975 title was the first championship for the Reds in 35 years.

Singleton played a video that showed highlights of Carroll from all three World Series appearances and other milestones during his career. The video also had comments from old friends and teammates at CCHS about Carroll.

Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims presented Carroll with the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award.

“We have all wondered why it took so long for this to happen,” Mims said. “I am thankful we are able to make this happen, and I made a new friend. He is a humble guy … I love him, he is fun to be around, and Clay Carroll, this is your day.”

Carroll accepted the award and gave a speech thanking everyone in attendance including his family who traveled in for the event.

“I’d like to thank my family, and all these good people of Clanton for making this happen,” Carroll said. “It is very humbling … It is a real honor to come back to my hometown, and to have something like this done to you.”

Carroll invited some of his old CCHS teammates to come up during his acceptance speech. Carroll also brought up his daughter, Lori Carroll, to thank her for her support throughout his career.

“I never gave up on Clanton, and every time someone would ask me where I am from I told them Clanton, Alabama,” Carroll said. “I am very proud of it, thank you.”