Three Downstaters going into Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame

By Daily State News
Posted 4/11/24

WILMINGTON — Three players with Downstate ties are among the six people and one team being inducted into the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Dover High grad Chuck …

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Three Downstaters going into Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame


WILMINGTON — Three players with Downstate ties are among the six people and one team being inducted into the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Dover High grad Chuck Coker, Smyrna native Biff Newnam and Middletown native and former Delaware State standout are among the honorees .that the group announced this afternoon.

The class will be will be honored in a private ceremony and later recognized on the field prior to the Blue Rocks baseball game on June 19 at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington.

The DBCA Hall of Fame originated in 1994 and now has 170 individual inductees and eight teams represented.

Here are the latest inductees, listed in alphabetical order:

Chuck Coker (Dover HS/University of Delaware): Coker was an All-Star for Dover Little League for all 12 years that he competed, leading the team to the Little League Eastern Regionals.

At Dover High (1974-78,) he led the Senators to consecutive Henlopen Conference championships in 1977 and 1978 and batted .380 as a senior when he earned All-State notice.

For Delaware ( 1979-82), Coker was a four-year standout, serving as captain as a senior, and ranking among the all-time UD career leaders for runs batted in (10th with 163), walks (16th with 100), hits (18th with 234), and games played (17th with 193). He led the Blue Hens to 30-plus wins each of his four seasons as the Blue Hens won three East Coast Conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times.

Coker went on to earn MVP honors in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association in Baltimore, Md. and also played in the Cape Cod League. Coker’s father, Ed, is also a member of the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame as a long-time coach and administrator for the Dover Little League.

Steve Hyde (Tower Hill coach): A 1959 graduate of Tower Hill, Hyde was the Hillers’ baseball head coach from 1981 until 2000.

He led his teams to a 20-year record of 234-134 (.636), 10 Independent Conference championships, including seven straight (1984-90), 11 state tournament appearances, and a state title in 1987. He earned the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award in both 1984 and 1987.

Paul Murphy (University of Delaware/MLB scout): A three-year standout for the Blue Hens, Murphy earned All-American honors and was named the East Coast Conference Player of the Year as a junior in 1986 when he batted .294 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI as a third baseman.

He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the ninth round in 1986 and again by the Baltimore Orioles in 1987. He played one season in minor league baseball at Bluefield, WVa. and batted .243 with eight home runs and 21 RBI.

Murphy also was head coach of the Delaware Grand Slam Diamonds team that made three National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series appearances. In his nine years of coaching, Twenty-eight of his players were drafted and six advanced to the Major Leagues.

He later served six years as a part-time scout with the Chicago White Sox, 15 years as an area supervisor with the Philadelphia Phillies (2008 World Series champions), and seven years presently as a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2020 World Series champions). He was inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Scouting Association Hall of Fame in 2022.

John Nelson (Dickinson HS/Little League coach): At Midway Little League, Nelson led its Senior Little League All-Star team to an East Region championship and a third-place finish at the Senior League World Series in 1996.

As the head coach at Dickinson (1998-2015), Nelson led the Rams to an record of 232-122 (.655), 10 conference championships, 13 state tournament appearances, seven final four appearances, and state runner-up finishes in 1998 and 2005. His 232 wins currently rank 15th all-time in Delaware high school history.

Robert “Biff” Newnam (Little League Administrator): Newnam devoted over 60 years of his life to baseball, from his days as a bat boy, as an outstanding high school and American Legion player, as a successful coach at several different levels, and as a nationally-recognized administrator.

After a playing career that included successful stints at Greenbrier (WVa.) Military School, Valley Forge (Pa.) Military Academy, and Post 14 American Legion, he moved on to the coaching ranks.

Newnam served two years with the American Legion Post 14 team in Smyrna before joining the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend Little League in 1978 and beginning a 21-year tenure at Smyrna-Clayton Little League in 1980. He coached the 16-18 year-old teams at Smyrna-Clayton and compiled an overall record of 250-171 (.596).

In 1999, Smyrna-Clayton won the district title and East Region title and played in the Big League World Series in Arizona.

While coaching at Smyrna-Clayton LL, Newnam served on the board of directors for 19 years, was named. Life Member, and served on the District I staff that helped coordinate the annual Big League East Regionals.

Newman was the District I administrator for 18 years before retiring in 2021.

He served as a national Little League District Administrator in 2002-21, served on the East Region Advisory Staff for 19 years, and was on the President’s Advisory Committee in 2008-11.

He also served on the Little League Congress rules committee and received the East Region Meritorious Service Award in 2007.

Pedro Swann, Jr.  (Delaware State): A two-time All-State outfielder at St. Mark’s High, Swann played for DSU in 1989-91.

He was a three-time All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection, finishing his career with a .421 batting average, 26 home runs, and 131 runs batted in. He hit .449 as a freshman in 1989 when he led the Hornets to the MEAC title.

He was selected to the DSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 and had his No. 1 jersey retired in 2004.

Swann was selected in the 26th round of the 1991 Major League Baseball Draft by the Atlanta Braves and went on to a 16-year minor league career that saw him play 1,818 games, bat .287, hit 181 home runs, knock in 924 runs, and steal 131 bases.

In 2000, Swann made his Major League debut with the Braves. He also played briefly in the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002 and with the Baltimore Orioles in 2003.

He played in 25 MLB games and hit his only major league home run off Roger Clemens. Swann later served as head coach at Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Stahl Post (American Legion team): In existence for 59 years, Stahl Post become the eighth team/program to be inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame.

Stahl Post has captured 33 state championships, won three regional titles, made three World Series appearances, and had 33 players drafted or signed professionally, including seven who went on to play in the Major Leagues. In 1967, Joe Cherico won the American Legion national batting championship.

Four other former Stahl Post players have become MLB scouts and nine more have become college head coaches. Another 17 alumni have been inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame.

Among the Stahl Post alumni who have played at the Major League level are Cliff Brumbaugh, Derrick May, Kevin Mench, and Brett Oberholtzer.

For more information on the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association and the Hall of Fame go to

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