The Chattanooga Lookouts will look back on part of their rich history to get the new baseball season started April 7 as Nick Dobbs takes the mound for the ceremonial first pitch of 2011 when Chattanooga takes on the Tennessee Smokies at 7:15 p.m. at AT&T Field.
"Lookouts manager Frank Burke visited me and asked if I would throw the first pitch of the season," said Dobbs, an 89-year-old Chattanooga native and son of the legendary MLB player and former Lookouts manager John Dobbs. "I told him I haven't thrown a pitch in 40 years, but I said why not."
The Dobbs family has been the epitome of baseball in Chattanooga for the past 100 years.
Back when families crowded their radios anticipating their favorite teams' next play, Dobbs grew up with a father that played for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Superbas.
John Dobbs went on to manage minor league teams across the Southeast, winning six minor league championships in his 21-year career and leading the 1909 Lookouts to the pennant during his first year at the helm.
"He loved baseball and gave it everything he had," said Dobbs, who recently moved to Hickory Valley Retirement Center after living in North Chattanooga for most of his life. "Every time there was a game, dad would tell the guys to keep hustling, even if they were losing. Let the fans know we are out there to win and never give up."
Dobbs will attend the game with friends from Hickory Valley, as well as members from his home church, First Presbyterian Church.
"It's great that the Lookouts are giving Nick the opportunity to throw out the first pitch," said Laura Bynum, spokeswoman for Hickory Valley Retirement Center. "We are encouraging all of our residents to attend the game and support him."