Today’s Tribe Sports Report written by the Tribe Sports Network.
Jersey Retiring: On Monday, April 5th, Mississinewa Baseball will retire Coach Rick Atkinson’s Jersey before the first pitch as the Tribe takes on the Adams Central Jets to open up the 2021 Campaign. The Community is welcome to attend the jersey retiring and watch Indians baseball on Atkinson Field.
Here is what Head Coach Mike Scott has to say on the Retiring of #21.
“This Monday, April 5th , will mark a special occasion for the Mississinewa baseball program for a couple of reasons. The first being it has been nearly two years since the Indians played a home game on Atkinson Field. To say players are more than ready to play is an understatement. And speaking of Atkinson Field, we also will be honoring our long time coach, Rick Atkinson, by retiring his #21 that he wore for so many years. Personally, I have so much I owe to Coach Atkinson for being able to continue in his legacy. As a former player he taught me so much about the game during the four years he was my coach. I had grown up loving this game but Coach brought out the passion that I have for it. Then a few years later, Coach Atkinson talked me into getting into coaching for the Mississinewa Indians. Looking back, somehow Coach could always see something in me that I never could. As my coaching career continued, I always had a mentor by my side. While coaching at both Anderson University and Indiana Wesleyan, it was such a privilege to be coaching on the same field with him and we continued to talk and reminisce. Coach Atkinson will always be remembered for his contributions and his legacy will continue. You did well Coach. Thank you for being there for me”.
Today’s Tribe Sports Report written by the Tribe Sports Network Director Ryan Scott. Featured picture by Mississinewa Athletics Twitter.
Coach A rounded third and headed for home on Tuesday, February 23rd. After a hard battle with cancer. Atkinson graduated from Mississinewa in 1965 where in 1964 he played on the first baseball team as a junior. His name had baseball written all over it but so did Mississinewa. Atkinson spent 27 years with Mississinewa Community Schools with 20 of those years being the head baseball coach for the Tribe. Indians baseball coach said “Rest easy Coach. Your contribution and legacy will continue for a long time. Because of you, I get to continue my passion for this game. We will make sure your commitment to this community will never be forgotten. The entire Atkinson family is in our thoughts and prayers”.
“After graduation, Rick played three years of baseball with Taylor University and was conference champion, representing Indiana in the N.A.I.A. Area 6 Tournament all three years. He then transferred to Greenville College (Illinois) where they became conference champions. During his time at Greenville, the team had a record of 20-5, Rick led the nation in home run averages (12 in 22 games or 1/2 home run per game) and was third in RBI average per game (1 ½), all while hitting .438. After graduation from Greenville College, Rick signed with the Atlanta Braves in 1969. Rick then returned to his alma mater, Mississinewa, where he spent the next 27 years, including two years as varsity wrestling coach, 20 years as varsity baseball coach, and 24 years as athletic director. During this time, Rick served 13 years as the secretary-treasurer of the Central Indiana Conference and one year as president of District 2 of the Indiana Athletic Director’s Association. He also played host to numerous girls’ basketball sectional tournaments and one regional tournament. Rick was president of the Indiana Baseball Coaches Association in 1987-88 and in 1990 was the head coach of the north squad of the Indiana North/South All Stars, which defeated the south two games to one. Additionally, he was the organizer for the North/South All Star organization”. -Grant County Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2003, Coach A was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame.