Stahl Makes Big Impact on Lamar Youth for More than 5 Decades
After graduating from Lamar (Mo.) High School in 1960, Jay Stahl remained a steadfast supporter of his alma mater and the surrounding community for more than half a century.
In particular, Stahl took a shine to baseball, and his tremendous efforts to help promote this sport in his hometown are well-known and greatly appreciated.
“Jay’s name has been synonymous with baseball in Lamar for decades,” says Barton County Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Astra Ferris. “Anyone who played baseball in Lamar from 1960 to now has been influenced in some way or another by Jay, whether being coached by him or coached someone that Jay once coached or mentored.
“Jay was also instrumental in getting the Lamar High School baseball program started. His son, Jason, and several others wanted to play high school baseball, and Jay worked to make that happen.”
“In 1987, I had a son (Jason) that was playing summer ball,” Stahl says. “I went to the superintendent and said, ‘We’re the only school in conference that doesn’t have a baseball team.’ He told me we didn’t have the equipment or a coach. I said, ‘We’ll (Booster Club) take care of that.’
“In 1988, we started it. In 1989, we won the conference.”
Over the years, Stahl says he, “coached everything from T-ball to college-aged teams. I coached my son and three grandsons in T-ball all the way until they were 18 year olds.”
Stahl focused on baseball as a result of his love for America’s pastime and says, “It’s a passion with me. I just quit two years ago (age 74) because I couldn’t throw batting practice anymore.
“I was in it for 55 years. It was just the fact of being around the kids. I just wanted to teach them how to play the sport that I loved so much.”
Even after hanging up his cleats and calling it a career, Stahl hasn’t gone away and, in fact, all he’s accomplished is sure to be of benefit far into the future.
Ferris explains, “Although Jay has retired from coaching, he is still very involved in youth sports in Lamar. He serves as a member of the city’s Recreation Board and is the longest-standing member of that board. He has been key in many of the projects involving our amazing fields at Lamar City Park.”
Stahl isn’t likely too concerned about the sparkling legacy of baseball he’s leaving behind for Lamar because, ultimately for him, this has simply been about “the fun of being around the kids and teaching them the right way to play.
“Just teaching them the basics of it has really been a lot of fun for me.”
And, perhaps, Stahl beams with pride most of all because he knows, “I never had any trouble with the kids.”
Likewise, all of Lamar can be extremely proud of all Stahl has done here.