Once threatened softball fields to get honorary name
City Council tonight is set to name the McIntire softball fields in honor of Carl "Chubby" Proffitt, 92, a local World War II hero who was also a talented baseball and softball player. Just two years ago, the City had plans to replace the fields at McIntire Park with an artificial-turf athletic field, but outraged softballers put the kibosh on that item in the McIntire Park master plan.
However, another name already adorns the battered scoreboard of one of the fields at McIntire. Dewey D.S. Shiflett, who was born in humble circumstances in Albemarle, eventually became a vice president at local beer distributor J. W. Sieg & Co., as well as a softball legend.
"He was very instrumental in men's fast-pitch softball when it was an important sport in Charlottesville," recalled Downtown Athletics’ David Deane in a Hook story on the park.
Riverside Lunch owner and longtime friend Carroll Shifflett (no relation) recalled Shiflett hitchhiking back and forth to Albemarle High School to play. "He was a leader; he kept the guys involved," said Shifflett. " He would go the extra mile to help guys out."
After Shiflett's 1986 death–- around the time the park was being reconfigured–- in his memory members of the community created the Dewey D.S. Shiflett University of Virginia Cardiology Fund and pushed the city to create a softball memorial for him.
However, according to Council clerk Paige Barfield, Shiflett's legacy is safe. Tonight’s resolution, she says, will determine what the entire McIntire softball complex will be named, while the back field will remain Dewey D.S. Shiflett’s Field.
As for Proffitt, he’s certainly worthy of the honor, having fought at Omaha Beach in the invasion of Normandy and winning a Distinguished Service Cross for bravery, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. During the war he played for the 116th Infantry Regiment’s Plymouth Yankees, who went 33-0 in 1943 and eventually won the European Theater of Operations World Series. Proffitt played center field and hit 17 home runs that year.
Unfortunately, the prime years of Proffitt’s youth were given to the war, which squelched his dreams of playing pro ball when he came home. However, he did play in the Valley League, starred on a number of fast-pitch softball teams, and coached area youths in both baseball and softball.
“I've always said the D-Day invasion, if there's such a thing as hell on Earth, that was hell on Earth," Proffitt told the Newsplex in a story last year. "I wouldn't take a million dollars for my experience, but I wouldn't go through it again for a million dollars”Š it scares me to death to even think about it, still right now."