Paxton, longtime Little League coach at St. Albans, left impression
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former St. Albans High School baseball standout Ben Paxton wasn't always enamored with the game that earned him a stellar career with the Red Dragons and a scholarship to Western Kentucky.
He can thank his great uncle, Stanford "Stan" Paxton, for keeping him on task.
"When I was 10, I was thinking about quitting," Ben Paxton said from his home in Indianapolis. "He came over one night, and he wanted me to keep playing. He was always about having fun.
"After a couple of years of little league, I almost got out of it. He talked me into staying."
Stan Paxton, the longtime St. Albans Little League coach and administrator, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 73. He was retired from BB&T, but spent the bulk of his spare time guiding young and impressionable baseball players, including George Washington head Coach Chad Campbell and Nitro assistant Drew McClanahan.
McClanahan said that Paxton never lost perspective for what was most important about the game, which was evident during one game when McClanahan and Nitro was facing St. Albans.
"Here was a St. Albans guy and me a Nitro guy and Ben (Paxton) was on St. Albans," McClanahan said. "He said, 'I want St. Albans to win but I want you to have a good game.' That's just the kind of guy he was."
Stan Paxton was involved with St. Albans Little League for the better part of 30 years.
Campbell said that's when he learned how to play the game.
"He didn't have any kids involved, but he was there for all of us," Campbell said. "I still have a game ball from when we won the league when I was 12. I pitched in the game and he gave it to me and I had him sign it."
Paxton was responsible for most of the organization of St. Albans Western, before the town's two leagues - Western and Eastern - merged. He remained an integral part of the league.
"He was there for the kids," said South Charleston Coach Ken Samms, who coached with Paxton for 10 years. "He would do anything you ask. He organized everything and was there for the community.
"I went with him when my son (Ken Michael Samms) was 6 years old and I stayed with him about 10 years," Ken Samms said. "He ran St. Albans Western. He was the guy. It brings back a lot of memories. We won some championships, had a bunch of different all-star teams.
"I'm sad to see him go. He was a great guy. St. Albans has lost a good one."
There is no service planned but online condolences may be made at www.bartlettchapmanfuneralhome.com.